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Press Release

Justice Department Sues Two Organizations and Seven Individuals for Physically Obstructing Access to Reproductive Health Services in Violation of the FACE Act

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department filed a federal lawsuit today in the Northern District of Ohio against two organizations and seven individuals for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The FACE Act prohibits anyone from using force, threats of force or physical obstruction against any person because they are seeking or providing reproductive health services.

The complaint alleges that the defendants, two organizations – Citizens for a Pro Life Society and Red Rose Rescue – and seven individuals – Laura Gies, Lauren Handy, Clara McDonald, Monica Miller, Christopher Moscinski, Jay Smith and Audrey Whipple – violated the FACE Act on June 4 and 5, 2021, by engaging in physical obstruction at two Ohio reproductive health facilities to prevent the facilities from providing, and patients from receiving, reproductive health care services. The complaint seeks compensatory damages, monetary penalties and injunctive relief as provided by the FACE Act.

“Obstructing people from accessing reproductive health care and physically obstructing providers from offering it are unlawful,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Congress passed the FACE Act 30 years ago this month in response to acts of violence, threats of violence and physical obstruction at reproductive health clinics in our country. The Civil Rights Division is committed to enforcing federal law to protect the rights of those who seek and those who provide access to reproductive health services.” 

“Federal and state laws protect access to reproductive health care services,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio. “Individuals have the right to access facilities in Ohio to make decisions about their own bodies, health and futures, in consultation with health care providers, free from force, threats of force, intimidation or physical obstruction. Our office remains committed to enforcing the FACE Act to protect these important rights of both individuals and providers, whether or not the services provided include abortion care options, as they do here. We encourage anyone with information about potential FACE Act violations to contact our office.”

The Civil Rights Division's Special Litigation Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio are handling the case.

Civil rights complaints can be submitted online at

Anyone in imminent danger should call 911 or local police. Contact your local FBI field office by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI (or 1-800-225-5324) or via

Anyone in the Northern District of Ohio may report potential FACE Act or other civil rights violations by calling the Civil Rights Hotline at 855-365-2485.

Updated May 21, 2024

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 24-633