FACE Act Violater Trades “Access” to Clinic For Dropping Fine


Anti-choice protester Meredith Parente has been found guilty of violating the FACE Act by shoving two clinic volunteers at a Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania in 2011. Now, she’s agreed to stay even further from the clinic in order to avoid paying fines.

Via TribLive:

A Penn Hills abortion protester has agreed to stay an extra 25 feet away from the entrance of the Planned Parenthood clinic on Liberty Avenue, Downtown, in return for the government dropping a lawsuit seeking $20,000 in damages and penalties, according to a consent order approved Thursday in federal court…U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak approved the order requiring Parente to stay at least 25 feet away for at least the next five years. The order notes that she is allowed to drive on Liberty Avenue past the clinic; the restriction only applies to her and anyone with her when she’s protesting on the sidewalk.

Parente was charged after she pushed two volunteers escorting a woman into the building. Life Legal Defense Fund claims she was just passing out “pro-life literature” and that she is a victim of an overzealous Justice Department.

According to anti-choice websites, you can’t violate the FACE Act if you only attack volunteers, anyway.

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Pittsburgh area abortion protester and sidewalk counselor Meredith Parente. Parente is accused of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Act for allegedly shoving two abortion clinic escorts. Looking over the FACE Act, I’m struggling to see how shoving volunteer clinic escorts (if it actually happened) would violate the FACE Act. How does shoving clinic escorts impede someone looking for an abortion from entering the clinic?

The Justice Department press release notes: “The FACE Act prohibits the use of force against any person providing or obtaining reproductive health services, or those seeking to do so, with the intent to injure, intimidate or interfere with that person.”

Volunteer clinic escorts aren’t providing (unless “providing” is used in an incredibly broad sense) reproductive health services nor are they seeking them.

No wonder so many people are still violating the act.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty