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Law targeting pro-life advocates now haunting abortion providers

WASHINGTON (BP)–The case of a Melbourne, Fla., woman who alleged she was forced to undergo an abortion after telling the abortionist to stop is seen as a political irony among some involved in the abortion debate.

The woman, known only as Jane Roe II, bases her argument on the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act signed by President Clinton to provide unimpeded access to abortion clinics for women seeking abortions.

Although the law was intended as a measure to be used against pro-life advocates who gather outside clinic entrances, Roe is using the same law against abortion advocates, claiming she was denied the right to exit the abortion facility after changing her mind.

The irony was not lost on Wendy Wright, spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America.

“This lawsuit is interesting because this legislation is being used to protect an abortion patient from the abuses brought against her by abortion industry personnel,” Wright told CNSNews.com.

“What happened under the Clinton Department of Justice when they brought cases under FACE … it was always used against pro-lifers, never against pro-abortion demonstrators who acted violently against pro-lifers,” Wright said.

The use of the FACE law against abortion advocates has a precedent that can be found in a 1997 New Jersey case involving a pro-life counselor who claimed to be harassed by an abortion supporter. “That pro-life counselor sued under FACE and won a civil suit,” Wright said.

But abortion supporters see the Florida controversy as a tactic geared toward limiting or ending a woman’s right to have an abortion.

“There is a problem in how anti-choice people are trying to use the law to try to restrict abortion,” said Susan Wanow, a spokeswoman for the Abortion Access Project. “They’re using things like this extortion case in Florida in order to find plaintiffs who are willing to sue doctors and clinics based on whatever they can use,”

“I really don’t know what FACE has to do with this case,” Wanow said.

Numerous attempts to contact other groups advocating abortion, including the National Organization for Women, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, the Feminist Majority and Planned Parenthood were made. Telephone calls seeking comment were not returned.
Rossomando is a staff writer with CNSNews.com. Used by permission.

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  • John Rossomando