Obama DOJ Cracks Down on Protesters Blocking Abortion Clinics

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


The Obama administration has stepped up efforts to protect abortion clinics from protesters illegally impeding access to clinic grounds. NPR reported Thursday that the Department of Justice is bringing more civil suits against protesters who trespass and block access to clinics:

The numbers are most stark when it comes to civil lawsuits, which seek to create buffer zones around clinic entrances for people who have blocked access in the past. Under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, or FACE Act, the Justice Department’s civil rights division has filed eight civil cases since the start of the Obama administration. That’s a big increase over the George W. Bush years, when one case was filed in eight years.

Given the increasing attacks on abortion clinics around the country by lawmakers hell-bent on making abortion inaccessible, if not illegal, this is good news. But the piece also points out that there have been a number of incidents of violence in the past few months that should reiterate the need to take threats to clinics seriously. A Planned Parenthood office in McKinney, Texas and the Summit Women’s Center in Detroit were both attacked with Molotov cocktails this summer, and a Wisconsin man was charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide after threatening to shoot abortion providers.

As Sharon Levin, vice president at the National Abortion Federation, notes in the NPR piece, protesters who commit minor violations, like trespassing, often end up escalating to more violent acts if they aren’t prosecuted.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate