A New York crisis pregnancy organization has filed a lawsuit against two pro-choice activists under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The organization, CompassCare, is a pro-life pregnancy service with offices in Albany, Rochester, and the Buffalo suburb of Amherst. The lawsuit accuses Hannah E. Kamke and Jennifer L. Page of separately violating the FACE Act while targeting CompassCare.
Ms. Kamke pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct for vandalizing a sign in front of CompassCare’s center in Amherst, while Ms. Page has organized protests that impeded access to the facility’s parking lot, deterring staff and patients from entering.
CompassCare CEO James Harden expressed frustration with the lack of federal response to the protests and vandalism, which includes a firebombing incident that forced the center to close for three months.
CompassCare has decided to take legal action due to the lack of investigation by the FBI and the refusal of the DOJ to indict the activists. The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and an injunction barring the defendants from coming within 100 feet of a pro-life pregnancy center in New York state.
So far, the Justice Department has charged more than 30 pro-life activists under the FACE Act since the leak of the Supreme Court’s opinion overturning Roe v. Wade. Eight activists have recently been found guilty of blocking an abortion clinic and face up to 11 years in prison.
The Face Act prohibits conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with the right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services. However, pro-life groups suspect the Biden administration of playing favorites, as only four pro-choice activists have been charged with FACE Act violations despite numerous attacks on pro-life pregnancy centers and Catholic churches.
CompassCare is represented by the Rochester law firm Ganguly Brothers and the Thomas More Society.
Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Chip Roy have introduced legislation to repeal the FACE Act, claiming that the Biden administration has “weaponized” the law. They argue that the law should be repealed to protect pro-life sidewalk counselors, pregnancy centers, and churches from attacks.
CompassCare CEO James Harden believes that the FACE Act is unconstitutional but believes it should be enforced equally while it remains the law of the land.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has stated that the Department of Justice applies the law evenly but acknowledges the difficulty of catching vandals targeting pro-life centers, as they often operate in secrecy at night.
The lawsuit seeks civil remedies against the activists, as the FACE Act grants the right to a private cause of action against violators.