Federal law, commonly known as the FACE law, prohibits the physical disability or the threat of violence to intimidate or disturb a person seeking reproductive health services. The law also prohibits property damage in abortion clinics and other reproductive health centers.
New Texas law prohibits abortions once medical professionals can detect cardiac activity, usually about six weeks – before some women know they are pregnant. Courts have prevented other states from imposing similar restrictions, but Texan law differs significantly in that it leaves private individuals to enforce through lawsuits rather than law enforcement.
Justice Department officials were also in contact with US attorneys in Texas and the FBI field offices across the state to discuss federal law enforcement.
“The department will assist federal law enforcement agencies if an abortion clinic or reproductive health center is attacked,” Garland said. “We do not tolerate violence against persons who, in violation of FACE law, use or want to provide reproductive health services, physical disabilities or property damage.”