On Monday, a Catholic priest was found guilty of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, also known as the FACE Act, for blocking access to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. Father Fidelis Moscinski, 52, a priest of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, could face up to one year in prison for his actions.
On July 7, 2022, Moscinski locked and chained the entrance to the Planned Parenthood of Greater New York clinic in Hempstead, preventing anyone from entering for about two hours. He also covered some of the locks with glue. After the fire department and police department cut through the locks, Moscinski laid down in front of the entrance to prevent cars from entering.
“The defendant attempted to prevent women from accessing their legal right to vital reproductive and pregnancy services,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace in a statement. “This office will enforce federal law to protect clinics and staff that provide reproductive health services while safeguarding the rights of their patients.”
In an interview with EWTN on July 16, 2022, Moscinski stated that he blocked access to the clinic so he could “talk to the mothers who were coming in that morning.”
“Imagine if you were one of those children scheduled to be executed that day,” Moscinski said. “Would you not want every possible effort to be made to save your life? And saying that something is a step too far is simply saying, ‘Well, some lives are less valuable than others; we could sacrifice only up to a point and then we’ll let these others die.’”
The FACE Act, passed in 1994, grants protections to reproductive health care centers including abortion clinics and pro-life counseling centers. According to the Department of Justice, a person is guilty if they engage in “violent, threatening, damaging, and obstructive conduct intended to injure, intimidate, or interfere with an individual’s right to seek, obtain, or provide reproductive health services.”
First-time convictions under the FACE Act are misdemeanors, which can carry up to one year in federal prison. Subsequent convictions are felonies.
Moscinski has a history of prayerful protests in the face of pro-abortion opposition and has served jail time for his work with the group Red Rose Rescue.