The Justice Department announced an agreement today with defendant Daniel Courney to resolve a federal lawsuit filed against Courney for his alleged violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The FACE Act protects the right to access and provide reproductive health services, including abortion.
The FACE Act prohibits anyone from using force, threats of force or physical obstruction against any person seeking or providing reproductive health services. The complaint filed against Courney alleges that he violated the FACE Act on two occasions in October 2021. In both instances, according to the complaint, Courney used physical force against a patient escort at a health clinic in Englewood, New Jersey, to attempt to prevent the volunteer from assisting individuals seeking the clinic’s services.
The proposed consent decree, which still must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, orders Courney to stay away from the clinic permanently, prohibits future FACE Act violations and requires Courney to pay a monetary penalty.
“Reproductive health care providers must be free to carry out their work free from interference or intimidation,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to enforcing federal law to protect providers and all people seeking access to reproductive health care across our nation.”
“Access to reproductive healthcare is a fundamental right,” said U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger for the District of New Jersey. “Individuals must be able to access facilities like the Englewood clinic to make decisions about their own bodies, health and futures, in consultation with health care providers. Those providers are entitled to offer services free from the threat of violence against them. Our office remains committed to the enforcement of the FACE Act throughout the District of New Jersey to protect these important rights. We encourage anyone with information about potential FACE Act violations to contact our office.”
The Justice Department is committed to the protection of reproductive rights and recently announced the formation of its Reproductive Rights Task Force to protect those rights nationwide.
Anyone in the District of New Jersey may report potential FACE Act violations or other threats to reproductive freedom by calling the Civil Rights Hotline, 855-281-3339, or by submitting an online complaint here.
Senior Civil Rights Counsel R. Joseph Gribko of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Millenky for the District of New Jersey are prosecuting the case.