The Obama administration is coming under fire today from a pro-life legal group accusing it of targeting peaceful pro-lifers under a federal law meant to target people who engage in abortion-related violence.
A recent Associated Press story focused on how, under the Obama administration, the Justice Department has aggressively stepped up prosecutions of people under the federal FACE law. After a sting of abortion violence decades ago, Congress passed and pro-abortion President Bill Clinton signed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances to make it so those few people who take the law into their own hands are prosecuted. While the Bush administration only used the law to charge one person, the Obama administration has already targeted six people via FACE.
The charges weren’t always cases of significant violence and included one man who engaged in time-honored protest by blocking the door of a Texas abortion clinic with his body so people could not enter the facility. A Florida woman used her car to prevent another vehicle from entering the parking lot of an abortion business in her community.
At the same time, the Obama administration has not used the law to target any abortion activists who engage in actions that are violent towards pro-life people. James Pouillon was peacefully protesting outside a Michigan high school to teach students about the reality of abortion when he was gunned down by Harlan Drake, a pro-choice person who didn’t like his graphic sign and shot and killed him. The FACE law never entered the equation.
Now, one pro-life legal group, the Life Legal Defense Foundation, says the Obama administration is going even further. Officials with LLDF say the Obama administration is targeting peaceful pro-life people who are not engaging in any violent or illegal activities but merely exercising their free speech rights to offer alternatives information and help to women outside of an abortion center.
In January 2010, David Hamilton was peacefully and lawfully handing literature to women entering EMW Surgical Center, an abortion clinic in Louisville, Kentucky. He was not only interfered with illegally by abortion facility volunteers who locked arms to block him from talking to women, he is now being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice for allegedly assaulting a volunteer who actually assaulted him. The “escort” attempted to forcibly block Hamilton to prevent him from sharing literature with women entering the clinic that explained other options to them.
Over a year after the date of the incident, rather than serving the clinic volunteer with a legal complaint for the illegal conduct, the Department of Justice served Hamilton with a legal complaint, alleging that he violated the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. LLDF says Obama administration officials went after Hamilton, who had since moved to Texas, and served him with the charges. The lawsuit seeks a $15,000 penalty and $5,000 in compensatory damages.
“This administration continues to increase the budget deficit by pandering to the abortion lobby, wasting taxpayer monies to hunt down and prosecute the victim rather than the perpetrator,” Dana Cody, the LLDF president, tells LifeNews. “The allegations against Mr. Hamilton are absolutely ridiculous.”
Attorneys Michael Hirsh and Vince Heuser, of the law firm of Hirsh and Heuser, are defending Hamilton and responded to the DOJ prosecution with motions to dismiss and to strike the complaint against him. Heuser says the lawsuit is “absolutely ludicrous” and he said Hamilton’s guilt in the incident was “seriously doubtful” because the officer who charged him with disorderly conduct was not in a position to see what happened.
Hamilton told the Louisville Courier-Journal last year, “I never touched the girl going into the clinic. I didn’t come close to touching her. I said what I had to say and kept walking.”
The incident was such a minor offense that Anne Ahola, the director of the abortion business, told the Louisville newspaper she doesn’t remember it and she is unfamiliar with the lawsuit.
The Obama administration’s lawsuit came months after it partnered with leading pro-abortion organizations to host an FBI training seminar partnered with leading pro-abortion organizations with the main focus of declaring as “violent” the free speech activities of pro-life Americans.
On August 25, 2010, the FBI and the United States Department of Justice co-sponsored a training seminar with Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and the Feminist Majority Foundation.
When information about the seminar, which took place at FBI headquarters in Portland, Oregon, reached pro-life advocates, they asked officials for permission to attend and were granted access to the seminar and the training materials.
FBI and Obama administration officials provided participants with an 84-page document entitled “Resource Guide: Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers” that contained print copies of Power Point presentations prepared by the Justice Department and an analysis of alleged pro-life “violence” prepared by the pro-abortion groups.
The so-called violence perpetrated by pro-life advocates mostly contained examples of constitutionally-protected free speech, including activities such as praying, providing women outside abortion centers with alternatives information, and peaceful protesting or picketing.
The EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville is the abortion business that was caught on videotape covering up a potential case of sexual abuse of a minor.