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FACE

Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances

Clinic with car blocking entrance

The 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act—Title 18, U.S.C., Section 248—makes it a federal crime to injure, intimidate, or interfere with those seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health care services. That includes not just murder, assault, arson, and property damage, but also death threats, burglaries, harassing phone calls, hate mail, and blockades. The FBI helps investigate these crimes, working closely with a variety of law enforcement partners and the Department of Justice.

In addition to the FACE Act, other frequently considered federal statutes in FACE Act investigations include Arson or Bombing (Title 18, U.S.C., Section 844), Mail Threats/Threatening Communications (Title 18, Section 875), Interstate Threats (Title 18, Section 876), and Use of a Firearm During the Commission of a Federal Violation (Title 18, Section 924).

From 2000-2007, there was a drastic decrease in the number of violent acts against reproductive health care providers and clinics due in part to the FBI’s increased liaison with these potential targets as well as liaison with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. After the 2009 murder of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, the FBI saw an increase in reported criminal activity occurring at clinics across the country as well as threats against providers.

During 2012, two percent of the FBI’s civil rights caseload involved FACE Act matters, while 42 percent involved color of law issues, 34 percent involved human trafficking, and 22 percent involved hate crimes.

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