penalties against violators. We will also seek civil remedies where
appropriate against individuals who threaten or engage in violence.
We currently have under review quite a number of matters to de-
termine whether civil proceedings are warranted. In that regard,
we are working out a protocol through the National Association of
Attorneys General to assist State attorneys general in bringing
civil rights actions generally, including FACE actions. As Congress
recognized by giving State attorneys general explicit authority to
bring civil FACE actions, they offer a valuable resource in the
struggle to protect civil rights.
The Civil Rights Division is committed to the vigorous enforce-
ment of FACE. We are also mindful, however, of the central impor-
tance in our society of protecting the right of individuals to associ-
ate with others of similar views to further social or political goals.
In conducting our investigations and prosecutions, therefore, we
will observe scrupulously all appropriate restrictions and evaluate
carefully and continuously the effect of our actions as a practical
matter on the first amendment rights of all individuals.
That concludes my oral statement. And my colleague now, Jo
Ann Harris, will address the Department's Special Task Force on
Clinic Violence, after which we can respond to some of your ques-
Mr. SCHUMEH. Thank you, Mr. Patrick.
Assistant Attorney General Harris, you may proceed.
STATEMENT OF JO ANN HARRIS, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GEN-
ERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Ms. Harris. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I
appreciate the chance to discuss with you the response of the De-
partment of Justice to violence directed at reproductive health
service providers and clinics.
I want to make one point very, very clear. The focus of our crimi-
nal investigation is on violence, acts of violence â€” shootings, bomb-
ings, murders, criminal threats that are directed at doctors and
other people and at clinics that provide services. This is not, for us,
a political issue. It is not a prochoice or a prolife issue. It is an
antiviolence issue, and we are approaching it as such in our crimi-
But, at the same time, I want to assure the committee that we
are sensitive to the need for special care on the part of law enforce-
ment in responding to criminal activity that occurs on the fringes
of first amendment protections such as protest movements. I want
to assure you that we are exercising the highest degree of caution
and respect for the rights of all people as we investigate violent
criminal activity related to the providing of reproductive health
Following the murder of Dr. David Gunn and the shooting of Dr.
George Tiller last year, the Attorney General directed the Criminal
Division to coordinate an interagency response to violence and
criminal threats of violence against clinics and providers. We
worked with the U.S. attorneys and Federal investigators in dis-
tricts where acts of violence had occurred. We facilitated the shar-
ing of information and assisted in locally based investigative ef-
Our efforts were intensified and centralized following the tragic
deaths in Pensacola on July 29, 1994. At the direction of the Attor-
ney General, I established a task force in the Criminal Division to
investigate acts of clinic violence to determine whether there is any
criminal connection between those acts and among the people com-
The investigation is under the direction of a very experienced at-
torney in the Criminal Division who reports directly to me. The
Civil Rights Division has contributed experienced prosecutors, very
fine prosecutors to the task force. The FBI, the ATF and the U.S.
Marshals Service are represented on the task force. Members of the
task force have been devoting themselves full time to the effort.
The task force has become the focal point for information regarding
antiabortion violence and threats of violence.
We are confident that this focused response is the most effective
way to investigate the violence and to prosecute, convict and pun-
ish the criminals who are committing violent acts.
The FACE statute is, of course, a valuable Federal tool in crimi-
nal investigations relating to antiabortion violence. We are coordi-
nating with the Civil Rignts Division the decision whether or not
to use FACE in cases that involve violent acts.
As my colleague has described, the Department has filed crimi-
nal charges under FACE in Milwaukee and in Pensacola. We will
continue to evaluate the appropriateness of using the criminal pro-
visions of FACE as well as every other Federal violent crime stat-
ute in any case involving acts of violence against doctors and pro-
We have taken other measures in addition to the establishment
of the task force. Immediately following the recent shootings in
Pensacola, Federal marshals were deployed to a number of clinics
around the country to assist local police in deterring acts of vio-
lence. Marshals also provided protection to certain providers, based
in each case on information that there was a specific threat of
harm. These judgments were made, erring, if at all, on the side of
excessive caution. The efforts of the Marshals Service continue.
The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing FACE to
the fullest extent appropriate. That includes the use of civil actions
and criminal prosecutions, as my colleague has said. At the same
time, we are acutely aware of the importance of protecting the
right of all people to engage in peaceful, nonobstructive expression
of their views. We are also mindful of the importance of protecting
the right of people to associate with others who agree with them,
so long as the agreement does not constitute a criminal conspiracy.
In conducting our investigations and prosecutions, therefore, we
have been and are and will be extraordinarily careful observing the
I would be pleased to answer your questions.
Mr. ScHUMt]R. Mr. Brown.
Ms. Harris. Oh, may I say one more thing?
Mr. SCHUMKR. Please, Ms. Harris.
Ms. Harris. I am afraid that other business is going to prevent
me from staying to hear the panelists after this panel, and I do re-
gret that, but I assure the committee that I will read the testimony
of each of your panels and take very seriously what they say.
Mr. SCHUMIOR. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Harris and Mr. Patrick follows:]
Â©tpartrntnt of Sl^ititt
JO ANN HARRIS
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ABORTION CLINIC ACCESS
SEPTEMBER 22, 19 94
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, we thank you
for inviting us to appear today to discuss the implementation of
the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) and the
Department's efforts to investigate violence against abortion
providers. The effort to stop violent interference with the
delivery of reproductive health services and to protect the right
of access to those services, while remaining vigilant with
respect to the First Amendment rights of all Americans, is a
major priority of the Department of Justice.
Following the shooting of Dr. David Gunn last year, Attorney
General Reno took two important actions. She directed the
Criminal Division to coordinate an inter-agency response to
violence against clinics and providers. She also directed
attorneys in the Civil Rights and Criminal Divisions to work with
Congress to develop a new federal law to attack directly the
problems of violence and clinic blockades. The task force was
formed, and thanks to the considerable efforts of the Chairman
and other Members of the Subcommittee, Congress passed the
Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. President Clinton
signed the bill into law on May 26 of this year. In the four
months since that date, the Department of Justice has spent
considerable energy and resources implementing the statute.
FACE gives law enforcement officials a valuable new tool to
combat violence and obstruction designed to prevent women from
exercising the constitutionally protected right to make a deeply
private choice, a choice to terminate a pregnancy. Seven
challenges to the constitutionality of FACE naming the Attorney
- 2 -
General as the defendant were filed in federal court shortly
after it was signed into law this year; some on the very day that
the President signed the bill. The Department of Justice
(through the Civil Rights and Civil Divisions) responded with a
vigorous defense of the constitutionality of the Act; to date,
six of the challenges have been decided and all have resulted in
dismissal of the complaints and solid holdings that the law is
constitutional. The opinions affirm that FACE does not intrude
on First Amendment rights of expression or religious exercise and
that Congress had authority to enact the law. Two of those cases
are now on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit and one is in the Eleventh Circuit. The
Department expects to file its briefs in support of the
constitutionality of the Act next week.
The Act is designed to ensure the continued access of women
to reproductive health services in important ways. It addresses
the very direct problem of physical obstruction that prevents
women and providers of reproductive health services from gaining
access to medical and other facilities. It does so by making it
unlawful to use or attempt to use physical obstruction to injure,
intimidate, or interfere with a person because that person is
seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services. FACE
prescribes both civil and criminal penalties for individuals who
engage in such physical obstruction.
In June, the Civil Rights Division filed the first criminal
charges pursuant to FACE'S prohibition of physical obstruction
- 3 -
against six individuals in Milwaukee. The Division continues to
investigate and review evidence regarding numerous incidents to
determine whether criminal or civil action would be appropriate.
Using the concurrent authority of state law enforcement, the
Attorney General of New York has included a count pursuant to
FACE in a civil action filed against clinic blockaders in state
court in New York. The private civil authority of the Act has
been invoked by the clinic that is involved in our Milwaukee
prosecution in a suit seeking injunctive and monetary relief.
It is important to achieving the goals of FACE to develop a
coordinated civil and criminal enforcement program to address
physical obstruction of clinics. We will strive to prevent
blockades of abortion clinics through injunctive relief when
appropriate. We will address those unlawful blockades that do
occur through criminal prosecutions where appropriate. We will
also use the damage and civil penalty provisions of FACE to seek
compensation for victims and to deter future violations. In all
of these activities, we will observe the First Amendment right of
individuals to express themselves through peaceful means.
The Act also makes unlawful the use of force or threats of
force against those providing or seeking to obtain reproductive
health services. The Act provides for criminal penalties ranging
from one year to life imprisonment for individuals who violate
these prohibitions. In our view, it is crucial to enforce these
prohibitions vigorously to send a strong message to two groups.
First, extremists who consider engaging in future acts of
- 4 -
violence must know that they may face federal authority for their
actions. As Congress recognized in enacting FACE, state and
local efforts to deter violence â€” even when undertaken
vigorously and with successful results â€” have sometimes proven
inadequate. Potential violators of FACE must understand that the
full force of the federal government â€” and not just state or
local government â€” may be directed against them if they use or
attempt to use force to injure, intimidate, or interfere with
people who are seeking to exercise their rights to obtain or
provide reproductive health services.
Second, providers of reproductive health services must be
reassured by the message that the Department of Justice enforces
FACE vigorously. Violence and threats of violence directed at
abortion providers have unfortunately had their intended effect.
They have reduced the number of physicians and others willing to
provide abortions. As a result, many women are left with a
constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy, but
are unable to find a physician to make that right meaningful. We
must, therefore, enforce FACE vigorously to ease the fears of
health care providers. They must be made confident that the
federal government will use appropriate means to deter and punish
attacks against them.
The brutal slaying of Dr. John Britton and his volunteer
escort, James Barrett, and the wounding of Mr. Barrett's wife,
June, were the first acts of violence against abortion providers
since the passage of the Act. Local authorities and the FBI
- 5 -
worked together closely to investigate the crime. After
consultation with the United States Attorney for the Northern
District of Florida and discussions with local prosecutors, the
Department sought â€” and the grand jury returned on August 12,
1994 â€” a four count federal indictment against Paul Hill. The
indictment charges Hill with three counts of violating FACE, one
for each of his shooting victims, and one count of using a weapon
in the commission of a felony. If convicted, he could be
sentenced to life imprisonment. The case is being prosecuted
jointly by the Civil Rights Division and the United States
Attorney's office. Trial is scheduled to begin October 3.
Throughout this effort, the Civil Rights Division and the
U.S. Attorney's office worked closely with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the
Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Pensacola Police
Department. The State is proceeding with its prosecution, which
is scheduled to follow the federal prosecution.
In determining whether to go forward with a FACE
prosecution, the Department considers the strong federal interest
in enforcing FACE, and the many strategic considerations that
point toward the surest and swiftest punishment. One such
consideration is whether a subsequent state prosecution would be
barred by a state double jeopardy constraint. These
considerations reflect the standards that apply generally to
- 6 -
In addition to our enforcement activities in Milwaukee and
Pensacola, we have been in touch with United states Attorneys,
FBI offices, and the Marshals Service around the country to alert
them to FACE and to give them the names of attorneys in the
Department of Justice whom they can contact. Whenever we have
had the benefit of advance word of imminent activities that might
violate FACE, attorneys from the Criminal and Civil Rights
Divisions have been in close consultation with federal officials
on the scene.
Immediately following the recent shootings in Pensacola,
federal marshals were deployed to a number of clinics around the
country to assist local police in deterring acts of violence.
The Marshals also provided protection to certain abortion
providers where there was a strong factual predicate supporting a
conclusion that they were at risk. The efforts of the Marshals
Meanwhile the work of the Task Force has expanded and
intensified. The Task Force consists of experienced prosecutors
from the Criminal and Civil Rights Divisions, and officials of
the FBI, Marshal's Service, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and
Firearms. The Task Force is charged with investigating criminal
activity against reproductive health care providers and with
determining whether that activity is the result of a conspiracy.
Members of the task force have been devoting themselves full time
to this effort. The Task Force has become the focal point for
- 7 -
information regarding anti-abortion violence and threats of
The Department of Justice is committed to enforcing FACE to
the fullest extent consistent with the civil liberties guarantees
of individuals in this country. That includes the use of civil
actions and criminal prosecutions to deter further violence and
to ensure that women have access to reproductive health services.
In all of our activities, we are acutely aware of the importance
of protecting the right of individuals to engage in peaceful,
non-obstructive expression of their views. We are also mindful
of the importance of protecting the right of individuals to
associate with others of like views in the absence of a criminal
conspiracy. In conducting our investigations and prosecutions,
therefore, we will, as always, observe scrupulously appropriate
We would be pleased to answer your questions.
Mr. ScHUMER. Mr. Brown.
STATEMENT OF JAMES L. BROWN, CHIEF, EXPLOSIVES DIVI-
SION, BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO AND FIREARMS, U.S.
DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY
Mr. Brown. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee,
part of my responsibilities as the Chief of the Explosives Division
for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is to oversee
ATF's arson and explosives enforcement efforts. I am here today to
discuss ATF's capabilities and how they relate to the investigation
of abortion clinic violence.
ATF has been investigating and tracking arson and bombing in-
cidents relating to abortion providers since 1982. To date, 148 abor-
tion clinic incidents involving either arson fires, bombings or at-
tempts have been investigated by ATF. The total damage resulting
from these incidents is approximately $12 million. We cannot begin
to estimate the impact on the people and the emotional trauma
they have suffered as a result of these crimes.
Of the 148 abortion clinic arson and bombing incidents inves-
tigated since 1982, 67 of these incidents have been adjudicated,
with 51 individuals brought to justice. In addition, several other in-
vestigations are actively being pursued by ATF, with indictments
and arrests and prosecutions expected in the near future.
In promoting its jurisdictional role, ATF has committed itself to
providing investigative assistance to Federal, State and local law
enforcement in their efforts to curtail violence directed against
abortion clinics. Normally, there are several related violations
under the jurisdiction of the investigating agencies, but experience
has shown that in those cases involving concurrent jurisdiction, a
joint effort ensures the most comprehensive and effective investiga-
This cooperative effort was significantly expanded earlier this
year when ATF and the FBI initiated a joint task force to aggres-
sively address abortion clinic violence throughout the United
States. This investigative approach to a unique crime problem was
developed to pool the resources of ATF and the FBI toward combat-
ing the ongoing violence directed at abortion clinic facilities and
providers nationwide and is intended to foster closer working rela-
tions between our two agencies.
Clearly, it is the combined talents and resources of the partici-
pating agencies that are vital to the apprehension of those respon-
sible tor such violent acts.
Throughout the past year, ATF has closely coordinated its inves-
tigative efforts with the Department of Justice. These discussions
have included a comprehensive overview of ATFs enforcement ef-
forts in this area during the past 12 years along with the status
of ongoing investigations and pending prosecutions. We continue to
share sucn information with DOJ officials, which has resulted in a
better understanding of the significance of this national crime prob-
Our past and continuing efforts to combat abortion clinic violence
also includes the use of ATFs National Response Team. The imme-
diate deployment of a highly trained and specialized team of agents
and support personnel to the scene of a major arson or bombing
has proven to be extremely effective. The effectiveness of this con-
cept and the expertise of the team members were most evident in
ATF's response to the World Trade Center bombing as well as the
NRT activation to the series of explosives incidents involving parcel
bombs resulting in five fatalities and several injuries in upstate
New York in December of last year.
ATF maintains the Explosives Incidents System, or EXIS, which
is a computerized data base which provides valuable assistance to
investigators concerning the details from reported arson and explo-
sives incidents, and it proved helpful in determining motives, pat-
terns, trends and signatures. EXIS currently contains over 194,000
detailed records from more than 56,000 explosives and arson-relat-
ed incidents and is the only computerized data base maintained by
a Federal law enforcement agency.
The initiative that put ATF in the forefront of arson investiga-
tion is its Certified Fire Investigator, or CFI, Program. Through
this program ATF provides experience, training and education to
selected special agents to enable them to determine fire cause and
present their findings and opinions in court in a credible manner
as expert witnesses.
Today, there are 48 CFI's stationed throughout the United
States, and in 1993 these men and women participated in approxi-
mately 1,700 fire scene examinations involving 127 fatalities, 374
injuries and $317 million in property damage.
ATF is committed to bringing the full force of its enforcement au-
thority to bear against those who perpetrate violence against abor-
tion clinic facilities and providers. To this end, in November of last
year an alliance was formed between ATF and the National Abor-
tion Federation and Planned Parenthood Federation of America re-
emphasizing ATF's commitment to the vigorous investigation of
arson and bombings directed at abortion clinic facilities.
As a result of this alliance, ATF Director Magaw announced the
creation of an ATF hotline, which is 1-800- ATF-4867, maintained
at ATF command headquarters, which is available 24 hours a day,
7 days a week.
As part of this initiative, the National Abortion Federation and
Planned Parenthood Federation of America established a reward of
up to $100,000 per incident for information leading to the arrest
and conviction of persons responsible for arson fires, bombings and
serious acts of vandalism directed at abortion and family planning
In April of this year, ATF participated in an abortion clinic vio-
lence seminar in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Department of
Justice. Also in attendance were representatives from the FBI, key
DOJ officials and selected U.S. attorneys from those judicial dis-
tricts which had experienced significant problems related to abor-
tion clinic violence.
The 2-day meeting resulted in an excellent exchange of informa-
tion between all those in attendance, to include an overview of the
violence associated with antiabortion activities, the status of ongo-
ing investigations and prosecutions, the development of investiga-
tive strategies and further solidified the need for closer coordina-
tion between ATF, the FBI, and DOJ to more aggressively address
abortion clinic violence throughout the United States in a joint task
ATF is committed to fulfilling its congressional mandate to pro-
vide the most effective and professional investigative response
available to arson and explosives incidents. Toward meeting this
goal, ATF is fortunate to have the working relationship it does with
its Federal, State, and local counterparts. It is imperative that this
cooperative environment remain constant, given the growing crime
problem we face.
Abortion clinic violence has been and will remain a top priority
with ATF. We are totally committed to sharing our investigative ef-
forts with all Federal, State, and local law enforcement toward ful-
filling our mandate of curbing the violence of arson and bombings
directed at abortion clinic facilities.
I appreciate the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee
today and will be happy to answer any questions concerning ATF's
efforts in this area.