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During the 1980’s and early 1990’s, abortion protests and blockades were on the rise. Violence against abortion providers was escalating across the country, culminating in the murder of Dr. Gunn in 1993 outside a Pensacola, FL clinic and the attempted murder of Dr. Tiller in the same year outside his Wichita, Kansas abortion clinic. These incidents created urgency in Congress to pass new federal legislation to address the violence committed against reproductive health care facilities and providers and the denial of access to women seeking their services.

The Federal FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) Act was enacted in 1994, makes it a federal crime to use force, the threat of force, or physical obstruction to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, somebody who provides or is obtaining reproductive health care services. More than ten states have enhanced, state-level FACE Acts or similar legislation like the Clinic Protection Act. Although these state laws generally prohibit the same activities as the federal version, with some variation, they can help ensure that state and local authorities have more opportunities for enforcement. They can also define key terms in a way that helps local law enforcement protect health clinics.

Tags: Florida Legislation