BREAKPOINT, July 12, 2001 with Chuck Colson
You remember the commercial about the Roach Motel. Ads for the insecticide in a box claimed the creepy creatures who enter it “check in, but they don’t check out!”
Well, a Florida woman is alleging that an abortion clinic treated her and her unborn baby just that way. And she’s suing, claiming she changed her mind after she entered the abortion clinic, but that the abortion providers forced her to undergo the procedure—and physically held her down on the surgical table until the deed was done.
Filing under the pseudonym of Jane Roe II, the Melbourne, Florida, woman has based her case on the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, abbreviated FACE. The intent of FACE, as drafted by Congress and signed by former President Clinton, was to provide unimpeded access to clinics for women seeking abortions. In other words, it was designed to prevent pro-life advocates from turning women away from clinic entrances.
In essence, Ms. Roe II is asking the courts to interpret the law in a way that would also prohibit clinics from blocking exits. She contends that a woman should have the right to cancel the scheduled abortion even after she has entered clinic property. Preventing patients from changing their minds and refusing to allow them to leave the clinic with their babies still alive, she says, is as coercive as preventing them from entering the property in the first place.
Wendy Wright, spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America, says, “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.” When the Clinton Department of Justice brought cases under FACE, “it was always used against pro-lifers, never against pro-abortion demonstrators who acted violent against pro-lifers.”
But are there legal precedents for Ms. Roe’s case? In a 1997 case in New Jersey, a pro-life counselor claimed to have been harassed by an abortion supporter. She sued under FACE and won a civil suit. So, yes, there is precedence.
Supporters of the abortion industry apparently want the door to swing just one way, and have called the Florida case a ploy to restrict abortion rights. As Susan Wanow of the Abortion Access Project sees it, “There is a problem in how anti-choice people are trying to use the law to restrict abortion. . . . I don’t really know what FACE has to do with this case.”
Well, most people have no trouble seeing the connection. What’s more, we understand that anyone who’s genuinely “pro-choice” ought to defend a woman’s right to say “no” to an abortion procedure, just as strongly as they’d defend her right to say “yes.”
Until this case is resolved, any woman who walks into an abortion clinic needs to beware—and to understand that some providers may act as if your money and your unborn child are their property.
This case, if it does nothing else, cuts through all the phony rhetoric about “choice” and “reproductive rights”—all the “noble” language the that abortion lobby uses. What’s at stake here is simple: money. This is a big industry. And the next time your neighbors question why you’re one of those pro-lifers who want to impose their views on others, tell them about Jane Roe II.