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Feminist News


June-10-97

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear F.A.C.E. Challenge

In a decisive victory for pro-choice supporters, the United States Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The court, without comment, refused to hear an appeal by leading abortion opponents. In 1994 when President Bill Clinton signed the law, which prohibits the use of force, threats or blockades that interfere with access to reproductive health, Randall Terry and Reverend Patrick Mahoney filed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. They claimed that the law prohibited the expression of their beliefs and assembly. A federal judge and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia disagreed, finding that the law "prohibited conduct, and not speech." The appeal also claimed that Congress did not have the authority to enact the law because the anti-abortion activities were not related to interstate commerce. Again, the courts disagreed with the abortion opponents and sided with the government. The government had argued that, "The evidence before Congress demonstrated that the campaign to eliminate abortion services through violence and obstruction was succeeding and had forced many clinics to closeInterference with abortion services is a problem of national scope."

Media Resources: Associated Press - June 10, 1997