Office of Public Affairs | Justice Department Sues Five Individuals for Violation of Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act

Office of Public Affairs | Justice Department Sues Five Individuals for Violation of Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act

The Justice Department filed a civil federal lawsuit today in the Middle District of Florida against five people for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which prohibits anyone from using force, threats of force or physical obstruction against any person because they are seeking or providing reproductive health services.

The lawsuit alleges that Calvin Zastrow, Kenneth Scott, Chester Gallagher, Eva Zastrow and Katelyn Sims, also known as Katelyn Velasco, committed violations of the FACE Act in Ft. Myers, Florida, on Jan. 27, 2022. Specifically, the complaint alleges that the defendants trespassed onto a reproductive health center’s property, blocked the entrances and temporarily stopped operations at the center. The complaint seeks injunctive relief and monetary penalties as provided by the FACE Act.

“These five defendants deliberately obstructed access to reproductive health services,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Physically blocking those seeking or providing reproductive health services in order to impose their views is unlawful. The Justice Department will continue enforcing the FACE Act to protect against such obstruction.”

“The Justice Department ensures that individuals cannot pick which laws they wish to follow,” said U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida. “We look forward to continuing to protect the rights of patients and providers to access reproductive health care.”

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

For additional information about the Civil Rights Division and the Special Litigation Section, please visit www.justice.gov/crt/special-litigation-section. Those interested in finding out more about the FACE act can visit www.justice.gov/crt/freedom-access-clinic-entrances-places-religious-worship. Past FACE Act cases by the Special Litigation Section can be found at www.justice.gov/crt/special-litigation-section-cases-and-matters#face.

Official news published at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-sues-five-individuals-violation-freedom-access-clinic-entrances-face-act

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