This article has been updated to provide comment from Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Republican lawmakers are introducing legislation to repeal the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act following a series of high-profile prosecutions of pro-life activists, The Daily Signal reported Tuesday.
Roy, who previously called out a pro-abortion witness for her comments about crushing the skulls of preborn babies and led a letter blasting the U.K. for arresting pro-lifers for silent prayer outside abortion facilities, told the conservative outlet the “FACE Act is an unconstitutional federal takeover of state police powers” that “must be repealed.”
Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah is planning to introduce a version of the bill in the Senate, the Daily Signal noted.
Enacted in 1994, the FACE Act ostensibly protects access to facilities run by both pro-life and pro-abortion organizations, including abortion facilities, pro-life pregnancy centers, and churches. However, conservatives have argued that the Department of Justice under the Biden Administration has weaponized the act to prosecute pro-life activists while only a handful of pro-abortion vandals have been arrested following a string of attacks on churches and pro-life centers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June, 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged last year that the vast majority of abortion-related political violence targets pro-lifers.
Recent examples of FACE act prosecutions of pro-life advocates include the FBI raid and federal prosecution of pro-life Catholic sidewalk counselor Mark Houck, who was charged with violating the FACE Act for a minor altercation with an abortion “escort.” Houck was fully acquitted in January. Most recently, eight pro-life activists were charged, convicted, and immediately incarcerated for their involvement in a 2020 “rescue” effort in which they blocked access to a notorious late-term abortion facility. They face up to 11 years behind bars and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.
In his comments to The Daily Signal, Rep. Roy argued that “Biden’s Department of Justice has brazenly weaponized the FACE Act against normal, everyday Americans across the political spectrum, simply because they are pro-life.”
“Free Americans should never live in fear of their government targeting them because of their beliefs,” he said.
Caroline Taylor Smith, executive director of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising (PAAU), a left-wing activist organization that opposes abortion but supports LGBT ideology, said in a press release that the move to repeal the FACE Act “is a monumental step towards justice for our preborn siblings and Rescuers alike.”
“The FACE Act has been flying under the radar for decades, and only now when it has been truly challenged, has the truth about it come to light,” she said. “Those fighting to sustain abortion violence and their allies in The White House will never be able to stop the Rescue movement, because Rescue is love, and the preborn have a right to be Rescued. Oppression will always backfire.”
Smith argued that the “FACE Act must be repealed,” and said she is “proud to stand next to anyone who will support nonviolent means of achieving justice for all.”
Kristin Turner, director of community organizing for PAAU, similarly called the development “a step in the right direction.”
“Currently in the US it is illegal to take our anti-abortion views to their logical conclusion. If a child is being killed you step in non-violently to save them. The same applies to the unborn.”
“The FACE Act was predicated on Roe,” which was overturned, she said, and “now FACE must go.”
Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, told LifeSiteNews in a Tuesday interview that “[a]ny law that facilitates the killing of the innocent is an inherently unjust law” and thus “FACE must be repealed if for no other reason.”
“In addition, however since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, abortion is not a federally protected civil right,” she pointed out, arguing that “FACE is basically [null] and void anyway!”
The Daily Signal noted that the September bill to repeal the FACE Act follows an April effort led by Roy “to defund enforcement of the FACE Act.” However, the outlet noted, “the proposal largely died when it was not included in the House Appropriations subcommittee draft.”
Roy’s new legislation has earned the backing of a number of fellow Republicans including Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde, Virginia Rep. Bob Good, Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn, Florida Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, and New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith.