John Rutherford presses Merrick Garland on protections for churches, pregnancy centers
John Rutherford

Rutherford Background
This appeal to the AG's office is supported by one prominent group that favors abortion restrictions.

How much is the Joe Biden administration doing to protect religious conservatives and abortion opponents?

That’s the question posed by U.S. Rep. John Rutherford to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

At issue for the Jacksonville Republican and some of his colleagues in the House: whether the executive branch is committed to enforcing the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.

That legislation, passed 30 years ago, bans “intentionally injuring, intimidating, or interfering with” people obtaining or providing reproductive health services,” as well as “damaging or destroying” the property thereof. The same protections apply to churches.

“The Justice Department has failed to prosecute a single act of violence against places of religious worship under the FACE Act,” said Rutherford.

“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. In the wake of the recent pro-Palestinian protest that interrupted an Easter vigil mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, and the over 150 attacks on churches and pregnancy resource centers across the nation since the Dobbs decision, I urge the Justice Department to apply the FACE Act equally and prosecute those who attack places of worship and religious organizations.”

Rutherford’s appeal to the AG is supported by one prominent group that favors abortion restrictions.

“President Biden’s Department of Justice is using the FACE Act to target and prosecute peaceful pro-life protesters and people of faith, while failing to investigate the numerous attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and churches across America since the leak of the Dobbs decision,” said  Marilyn Musgrave, Vice President of Government Affairs at SBA Pro-Life America.

“Thank you, Congressman Rutherford, for your leadership on this important letter calling out the Department of Justice for weaponizing the FACE Act and demanding accountability for its abuses of the FACE Act against pro-life Americans and institutions.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • handmaidens

    May 18, 2024 at 2:30 pm

    So its not enough to take away women’s rights to healthcare…now these old white men want to use all their power to make sure their extreme followers are continued to allow to intimidate those that make it one of the few clinics left to provide care. We will not forget and refuse to go back to alley abortions.

    • MH/Duuuval

      May 18, 2024 at 4:00 pm

      It’s ideological and financial since the same retrograde white men oppose a woman’s right to choose and divert tax money to pro-life pregnancy centers — but won’t spend any tax money to terminate a pregnancy a women chooses to terminate, either here or abroad.

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