U.S. Attorney says Biden admin will enforce abortion clinic access laws, use FBI if needed

The U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts says the FBI and other federal agencies stand ready to enforce federal laws allowing access to abortion and reproductive care in the commonwealth.

“We are going to enforce the (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994), which is essentially when people block the entrances of clinics and access there,” U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a television appearance Sunday with Jon Keller on WBZ.

“If we see uprisings happening, protests regarding these things, the FBI and other federal agencies may be involved,” she said.

Rollins said her office is receiving frequent updates from the Biden administration and is already looking into how recent Supreme Court decisions will affect federal employees in the state.

“We are getting guidance daily from the Attorney General of the United States Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice regarding, for example, federal employees, if they are looking to have health care, reproductive rights, utilized by themselves,” she said.

Her remarks come in response to the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case legalizing abortion nationally, and return the question of the medical procedure’s legality to the states.

The right to an abortion in the Bay State is protected in the state’s constitution, according to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. In addition, those rights have been further codified by a recent executive order from Gov. Charlie Baker and legislation known as the Roe Act passed by lawmakers in 2021.

The state is expected, and Baker’s order prepares for it, to become a haven for women living in states that have already or are expected to expressly outlaw abortion care. The executive order prevents compliance by state law enforcement with out-of-state requests regarding reproductive care and protects the records of those, even from out of state, who receive such care.

Rollins also commented on the court’s decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen, where the court declared a New York state rule restricting who could receive a concealed carry permit to those deemed to have “proper cause” unconstitutionally at odds with the Second Amendment.

That case will have a direct impact in Massachusetts, which has been saved from the gun violence visited on those states with looser laws, according to Rollins.

“We are lucky in Massachusetts,” she said. “We have really strict gun laws in Massachusetts, just like New York did.”

The problem isn’t the Bay State, she said, but the states around ours with looser laws, which makes it easier for guns to make it into the commonwealth.

The problem isn’t even with law abiding gun owners, who, Rollins said, already meet a very high legal bar for possession, but criminals and those with mental health issues.

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