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WASHINGTON STATE MAN INDICTED FOR THREATENING STAFF OF WOMEN'S REPRODUCTIVE HEATH CLINIC WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A federal grand jury today indicted a Washington State man for allegedly making threatening phone calls to a counseling service in Wenatchee, Washington, that encourages pregnant women to consider options other than abortion, the Justice Department announced today. It is the first case brought by the Justice Department under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) challenging actions against a facility that does not perform abortions. The suit is the ninth criminal case brought by the Justice Department under the law. The Department has brought four civil cases. The law, enacted in May 1994, authorizes the Justice Department to prosecute people who use force or threats of force against health care facilities and staff providing reproductive health services and counseling. The two-count indictment, returned today in Yakima, alleged that on January 2, 1995, Daniel Adam Mathison called the First Way office in Wenatchee and threatened to kill workers at the clinic. It also alleged that on the same day he called the National Life Center hotline in Woodbury, New Jersey, and told an operator that he had a gun and was going to shoot pro-life supporters demonstrating outside of abortion clinics. The First Way office, which is an affiliate of the National Life Center, opposes abortion and encourages pregnant women to choose other options. "Congress passed the clinic access law to ensure that people who work at reproductive health facilities can provide women with necessary services free from violence and intimidation," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. "Today's case marks our continuing effort to vigorously enforce this law." Count one charged Mathison with making an unlawful interstate communication by placing a call to the National Life Center and threatening pro-life supporters. Count two alleged that Mathison violated FACE by using a threat of force to intimidate and interfere with First Way workers. If convicted, Mathison faces a maximum prison term of six months and a fine up to $100,000 for the alleged FACE violation, and a maximum prison term of five years and a fine up to $250,000 for the alleged unlawful interstate communication. "In bringing these cases, we are concerned with conduct, not beliefs," said Patrick. In addition to today's case, the Justice Department has brought eight criminal actions under FACE. In October, 1994, Paul Hill was convicted and later sentenced under federal law to
two life terms in prison for murdering a Pensacola doctor. He was subsequently sentenced to death following his state conviction. In November, 1994, a federal court convicted six individuals who blocked the entrance to a Milwaukee women's clinic. A separate case involving the physical obstruction of a second women's health clinic in Milwaukee was initiated in September. In January, the Department filed a complaint against a woman in Huntsville, Alabama for threatening a doctor who performed abortions. In March, a federal grand jury indicted an Albuquerque, New Mexico man for chaining, padlocking and attempting to burn down an Albuquerque clinic. Two West Palm Beach, Florida men were charged with obstructing a clinic in Lake Clark Shores and two other men were charged with obstructing a clinic in Wichita, Kansas. Additionally, a man was indicted in Houston after he smashed a windshield of a doctor who provided reproductive health services. The Justice Department also has brought four civil actions under FACE. In December, 1994, it asked permission to enter into an existing private civil suit against eight individuals who blocked the entrance to a Milwaukee clinics (the blockade resulted in the criminal conviction of six defendants listed above). In January, the Department filed a civil suit in Fargo, N.D. against several individuals who blocked a clinic entrance and engaged in threatening conduct. In February, it obtained a preliminary injunction against an Ohio man for threatening a doctor and his family. In March, a federal court in Missouri granted the first permanent injunction under FACE against a Kansas City woman. # # # 95-204