WASHINGTON - The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ordered that Juan Antonio Gaona must adhere to a 25-foot buffer zone around a Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Clinic in San Antonio, Texas. The court order is the result of a consent decree entered into by Gaona to resolve a civil complaint filed against him by the United States for violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act).
According to court documents, on April 17, 2009, Gaona, an anti-abortion protestor, entered the Planned Parenthood clinic’s front door and physically obstructed a patient by blocking the clinic’s interior entrance with his body. Gaona refused to leave the clinic and is said to have physically and verbally intimidated the patient and clinic employees. The FACE Act prohibits the physical obstruction of any person providing or obtaining reproductive health services, with the intent to intimidate or interfere with that person.
"Protecting the right to provide or obtain reproductive health services free from the threat of harm, intimidation, or physical obstruction is vital to safeguarding the constitutional rights of all Americans," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice will continue to aggressively enforce the FACE Act against those who seek to violate the rights of their fellow Americans to safely provide or obtain such services."
This civil action was filed by the Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Deputy Chief Julie Abbate and Trial Attorney William Nolan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Rodriguez of the Western District of Texas.