A man with a strong anti-ab*rtion stance has confessed twice to att*cking the Planned Parenthood clinic.
The man, 27-year-old Devin Friedrick Kruse, pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the Free Access to Clinics Act (FACE), according to official release from Department of Justice (DOJ). According to a statement on Monday, Kruse broke windows and att*cked other properties in Planned Parenthood in Grants Pass, Oregon, a small town 140 miles south of Eugene. His case was investigated by the FBI and with the help of the Grants Pass police.
“The Department of Justice will not tolerate unlawful and violent behavior that interferes with the work of reproductive health clinics,” said assistant attorney general Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division on the Kruse conviction. “This belief should send a strong signal that we will use federal civil rights law to protect reproductive health clinics and staff while protecting the rights of our patients.”
Kruse first att*cked Grants Pass Planned Parenthood on November 23, damaging “five security cameras, a window, and a sign.” He returned three days later to continue the att*ck on the building, throwing a concrete block through the window, breaking the intercom and smashing some light bulbs. Admitting to investigators of his crimes, Kruse said he att*cked the clinic “because he was angry with Planned Parenthood for providing ab*rtion services.”
“The first amendment does not allow individuals to violate the civil rights of others,” Natalie Wight, the Oregon District attorney’s attorney, said in a statement. “In this case, Mr. Kruse’s destructive and intimidating actions prevented women from accessing important health services related to reproduction and pregnancy.”
A statement from the Justice Department said Kruse was charged on February 24 with a felony violating the FACE Act. Pursuant to this law, the first offenses committed by an individual to damage to property are considered offenses punishable by up to one year in prison. Subsequent charges are treated as crimes. Kruse is due to be sentenced on January 5.
“In 1994, Congress passed the FACE Act in response to the increase in violence against patients and reproductive health service providers,” explains the Department of Justice’s statement. “The FACE Act prohibits the use of violence, threats, destruction and obstruction intended to injure, intimidate or interfere with an individual’s right to seek, obtain or provide reproductive health services.”
The conflict over the right to ab*rtion in the US flared up again in the summer when the Supreme Court collapsed Roe v Wade, a landmark decision that protected the right to ab*rtion at the federal level for nearly five decades. Following this decision, many states enacted liberation laws prohibiting ab*rtion within their borders to varying degrees, but generally to a strict degree.
Oregon, on the other hand, has strong ab*rtion protection in its books. According to the Abortion Finder website, the practice is not prohibited in the state at any time during pregnancy, and underage patients do not need to seek parental consent to undergo this procedure.
Newsweek contacted the FBI for comment.
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