Rutherford Accuses DOJ of Failing to Enforce FACE Act

Rutherford Accuses DOJ of Failing to Enforce FACE Act

Daniel Molina
Daniel Molina
May 21, 2024

Over the weekend, Florida Rep. John Rutherford (R) directed a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland. Rep. Rutherford accuses the Department of Justice (DOJ) of failing to enforce the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in response to attacks aimed at places of worship and pregnancy centers.

The letter, which was signed by 8 House members, and which also has the support of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, notes that there have been over 150 attacks on pregnancy resource centers and churches since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health in 2022.

One attack, which took place on March 30th, 2024, involved three protestors interrupting an Easter Vigil mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. The protestors ran up to the altar yelling “Free Palestine” while holding up a banner that read “Silence Equals Death.” Though the New York Police Department took the defendants into custody and charged them with disrupting a religious service, the protestors were released without bail.

In a statement, Rep. Rutherford shared his concern with the DOJ, saying that they have “failed to prosecute a single act of violence against places of religious worship.” “In fact, only five individuals have been prosecuted under the FACE Act for attacking pro-life pregnancy centers, while the Justice Department actively prosecutes numerous protests outside of abortion clinics.”

The Florida lawmaker also requested that Garland respond to questions regarding the FACE Act and crimes committed against places of worship and pregnancy support centers:

  1. How many federal prosecutions have been pursued for violations of the FACE Act?
  2. Is DOJ investigating FACE Act charges against the individuals who interfered with religious worship at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on March 30, 2024? If not, please explain this decision.
  3. What criteria does DOJ use to make the decision to pursue charges under the FACE Act?
  4. Does DOJ collaborate with state and local law enforcement to identify FACE Act violations?

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Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina

Daniel Molina is an award-winning senior reporter based in Miami. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Florida International University. His hobbies include reading, writing, and watching films.

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