WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Meredith Parente for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act).
According to court documents, in January 2011, Ms. Parente used physical force against two volunteer escorts who were accompanying a patient into the Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania Liberty Avenue clinic. The FACE Act prohibits the use of force against any person providing or obtaining reproductive health services, or those seeking to do so, with the intent to injure, intimidate or interfere with that person.
“Individuals obtaining medical care should not have to fear physical assault,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will aggressively enforce the law so that people can have access to clinics. The right to free speech does not include the right to use force against individuals seeking or providing reproductive health services.”
This civil action was filed by the Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Section Deputy Chief Julie Abbate and Trial Attorneys Michelle Leung and Aaron Fleisher.