Published On: Mon, Sep 12th, 2011

Obama administration targets abortion protests as ‘absolutism’ limiting their first amendment rights

In 1994, abortion-lobby champion Ted Kennedy passed the Free Access to Clinics Act (FACE), which imposes stricter limitations on peaceful protests of abortion clinics than any other peaceful protest.

This law was more for political pandering and show for Kennedy and the Clinton administration – it’s not really been enforced.

Tom McClusky at the Family Research Council recently stated: “The story I normally got from Justice Department, Hill and real world lawyers on both sides of the aisle was that everyone understood the law was unconstitutional and could be a weapon of mutual assured destruction.”


Obama’s DOJ has a track record of picking battles while being apathetic toward the Constitutional limitations. (no lawsuits for voter intimidation or investigations in the illegal weapons stings with Mexico)

But now, NPR (hardly a right-wing establishment) reports Obama is deciding to crack down on those protesting.

Here’s NPR’s report on one of the Obama Administration’s targets:

A few blocks from the White House, outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington, D.C., Dick Retta has reported for duty in a blue windbreaker, khaki pants belted high and brown shoes with thick soles. He’s carrying rosary beads and a packet of brochures filled with information about the dangers of abortion.

“Please don’t let them take your child’s life. You don’t have to. We can and will help you. Don’t let them take your child’s life. Let us help you,” Retta says to a woman entering the clinic.

That front door shuts in his face. But Retta says he’s not deterred by that, or by a civil lawsuit the Justice Department filed against him in July. Authorities claim Retta violated the FACE Act by blocking a patient early this year — following her for 35 feet and standing in front of the door.

Retta disputes the allegations.

“We don’t block women from coming in. That’s not our policy,” he says. “I teach it. I teach what I’m doing … and I say one thing: Never block the women from going in. Never.”

Retta, who has seven children and 11 grandkids, says he is moved by his Catholic faith to do what he calls sidewalk counseling. Retta says he has gotten pushed around outside the clinic, too. He says he was standing by the gate and a woman sprayed him with pepper spray in July, putting him “out of commission” for a while.

None of this is surprising.

photo Jennifer Moo via Flickr

photo Jennifer Moo via Flickr

President Obama  voted against a bill requiring doctors to care for babies born after failed abortions and Obama had promised he would be signing the sweeping “Freedom of Choice Act,” which would wipe out nearly all limitations on abortion.

The Obama administration protected the planned subsidies for Planned Parenthood, guaranteeing the finances for the country’s biggest abortion provider.

Sharon Levin, a vice president at the National Abortion Federation, says there are even bigger signs of trouble, including two incidents this summer involving Molotov cocktails and the arrest of a man who told police he wanted to shoot two abortion doctors in Wisconsin.

Levin attributes the relatively low level of extreme violence to the Justice Department’s more aggressive enforcement of the FACE Act.

“One of the dangers we have seen is that the people who commit the major violent acts often started with minor violent acts,” Levin says, “and they were never arrested, so their activities escalated.”

Troy Newman couldn’t disagree more. Newman leads Operation Rescue, a group that protests at abortion clinics across the country. He calls this Justice Department’s approach to the FACE Act “a political tool to shut them up, shut them down and make them go away.”

Whether you support abortion clinic protests or not, everything else — free assembly, free speech, conscience protection, should remain precious to the core of America’s freedoms and values.

Target the violence at a protest NOT the freedom to protest.

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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