FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 4, 1995

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SEEKS COURT ORDER BARRING OHIO MAN FROM HARMING DOCTOR WHO PERFORMS ABORTIONS WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today asked a federal court in Northern Ohio to prevent a Warren, Ohio man from threatening to harm a doctor who provides reproductive health care at two women's health clinics in the midwest. The suit is the second civil action by the Justice Department under the newly-enacted Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) and the first aimed at protecting a doctor. Under the law, signed by President Clinton in May of 1994, the Justice Department may ask a court to prevent people from blocking health clinics or harming health care providers, and it can seek compensation for any victims and civil penalties up to $10,000 for a first offense. Today's suit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Cleveland, alleges that in June, Alan M. Smith of Warren, Ohio, made death threats against Dr. Gerald B. Applegate, who provides reproductive health services in offices in Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio. The suit also asserts that Smith tried to run Applegate off the road because of his occupation and that he and another individual prevented the doctor's wife, who works as a nurse at her husband's office, from entering their Pittsburgh office. "Congress passed the clinic entrance law to protect women's constitutional rights to reproductive health services, and we intend to use civil as well as criminal processes to see that the law is respected," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. In June 1994, Smith was charged under Ohio law with felonious assault and menacing by stalking for allegedly trying to run Applegate off the road. He has been out on bond with some restrictions on his activities, and according to the Justice Department complaint, violated those restrictions. The complaint alleges that in November of 1994 Smith threatened Applegate's life during a protest staged at Dr. Applegate's home. Today's action seeks a Federal court order placing tougher restrictions on Smith. Last month, the Justice Department asked permission to enter into an existing civil suit filed under the new law by a women's health clinic in Milwaukee against eight individuals who blocked the entrance to the clinic. In November, a federal court, using the criminal provisions of the law for the second time, convicted six individuals who blocked the entrance to the Milwaukee clinic. In October of 1994, the Justice Department obtained the first criminal conviction under FACE, when a federal jury convicted Paul Hill of killing a doctor at a Pensacola, Florida, clinic. Hill was later sentenced to two life terms in prison. He was also sentenced die in the electric chair following his state conviction. # # # 95-004