Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act

Summary: The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act would supplement criminal and civil law to protect facilities, providers, employees, volunteers and patients from anti-abortion violence and harassment.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE

This Act shall be called the “Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.”

SECTION 2. PURPOSE

This law is enacted to protect the health and safety of medical professionals, health care workers, volunteers and patients.

SECTION 3. FREEDOM OF ACCESS TO CLINIC ENTRANCES

After Section XXX, the following new section XXX shall be inserted:

(A) DEFINITIONS

1) “Aggrieved person” means:

a) A person, physically present at the health care facility when the prohibited actions occur, whose access is or is about to be obstructed or impeded, or whose health care is or is about to be disrupted;

b) The health care facility, its employees, or agents; or

c) The owner of the health care facility or the building or property upon which the health care facility is located.

2) “Crime of violence” means an offense that has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another.

3) “Interfere with” means to restrict a person’s freedom of movement.

4) “Intimidate” means to place a person in reasonable apprehension of bodily harm to herself or himself or to another.

5) “Nonviolent” means conduct that would not constitute a crime of violence.

6) “Physical obstruction” means rendering ingress to or egress from a reproductive health services facility impassable to another person, or rendering passage to or from a reproductive health services facility unreasonably difficult or hazardous to another person.

7) “Reproductive health services” means reproductive health services provided in a hospital, clinic, physician’s office, or other facility and includes medical, surgical, counseling, or referral services relating to the human reproductive system, including services relating to pregnancy or the termination of a pregnancy.

8) “Reproductive health services client, provider, or assistant” means a person or entity that is or was involved in obtaining, seeking to obtain, providing, seeking to provide, or assisting or seeking to assist another person, at that other person s request, to obtain or provide any services in a reproductive health services facility, or a person or entity that is or was involved in owning or operating or seeking to own or operate, a reproductive health services facility.

9) “Reproductive health services facility” includes a hospital, clinic, physician’s office, or other facility that provides or seeks to provide reproductive health services and includes the building or structure in which the facility is located.

10) “Threat of force” means a threat where a reasonable person would foresee that the statement would be interpreted by those to whom the maker communicates the statement as a serious expression of intent to harm or assault.

(B) INTERFERENCE WITH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE FACILITY—Except when specifically allowed by state or federal law, it is unlawful for a person to:

1) Use force, threat of force, or physical obstruction that is a crime of violence, to intentionally injure, intimidate, interfere with, or attempt to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, any person or entity because that person or entity is a reproductive health services client, provider, or assistant, or to intimidate any person or entity, or any class of persons or entities, from becoming or remaining a reproductive health services client, provider, or assistant.

2) Use nonviolent physical obstruction to intentionally injure, intimidate, or interfere with, or attempts to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, any person or entity because that person or entity is a reproductive health services client, provider, or assistant, or to intimidate any person or entity, or any class of persons or entities, from becoming or remaining a reproductive health services client, provider, or assistant.

3) Intentionally damage or destroy the property of a person, entity, or facility, or attempt to do so, because the person, entity, or facility is a reproductive health services client, provider, assistant, or facility.

(C) CRIMINAL PENALTIES

1) A first violation for an exclusively nonviolent act prohibited by this section is punishable by a fine not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000). A second or subsequent violation for an exclusively nonviolent act is punishable by a fine not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).

2) A first violation for a crime of violence prohibited by this section is punishable by imprisonment for a period of not more than one year and a fine not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000). A second or subsequent violation for a crime of violence prohibited by this section is punishable by imprisonment for a period of not more than five years and a fine not to exceed one-hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).

(3) In imposing fines pursuant to this section, the court shall consider applicable factors in aggravation and mitigation set out in [cite applicable Rules of Court], and shall consider a prior violation of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (18 U.S.C. Sec. 248) to be a prior violation of this section.

(D) CIVIL REMEDIES

1) A person aggrieved by a violation of this section may bring a civil action to enjoin the violation, for compensatory and punitive damages, and for the costs of suit and reasonable fees for attorneys and expert witnesses. With respect to compensatory damages, the plaintiff may elect, at any time prior to the rendering of a final judgment, to recover, in lieu of actual damages, an award of statutory damages in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000) per exclusively nonviolent violation, and five thousand dollars ($5,000) per any other violation, for each violation committed.

2) The Attorney General, a district attorney, or a city attorney may bring a civil action to enjoin a violation of this section, for compensatory damages to aggrieved persons and for the assessment of a civil penalty against each respondent. The civil penalty shall not exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for an exclusively nonviolent first violation, and twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for any other first violation, and shall not exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for an exclusively nonviolent subsequent violation, and one-hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for any other subsequent violation. In imposing civil penalties pursuant to this subdivision, the court shall consider a prior violation of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (18 U.S.C. Sec. 248) to be a prior violation under this section.

(E) PROTECTION OF PARTIES AND WITNESSES

A court having jurisdiction over a criminal or civil proceeding under this section must take all steps reasonably necessary to safeguard the individual privacy and prevent harassment of a reproductive health care provider, employee, volunteer or patient who is a party or witness in a proceeding, including granting protective orders and orders in limine.

(F) INTERPRETATION OF THIS SECTION—Nothing in this section shall be construed to:

1) Limit the right to seek other available criminal or civil remedies; the remedies in this section are cumulative, not exclusive;

2) Preempt any county or municipal laws that provide a remedy for the commission of any of the acts made illegal by this section; or

3) Impair any constitutionally protected activity.

SECTION 4. EFFECTIVE DATE

This Act shall take effect on XXXX 1, 2017.

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