Washington’s new “Reproductive Rights Complaint Form” allows residents to file complaints against anyone they believe is interfering with their attempt to obtain an abortion. Pro-life organizations have raised concerns about the new form, noting that it could result in federal prosecution for infractions as minor as peacefully praying near abortion centers.
Complainants can fill out the form if they feel they have “experienced deception, harassment, or other misconduct at a crisis pregnancy center” or “experienced harassment at a clinic or other reproductive health care facility.” Violations include “refus[ing] to fill prescription[s] for birth control, emergency contraception, or abortion pills.”
Complainants can also file the report anonymously.
The redefined scope of harassment brings into question how these violations will be prosecuted. Although the state attorney general will collect the complaint forms, it is possible that the infractions will fall under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE Act), which was established in 1994 to prevent protestors from blocking the entrance of abortion clinics. President Joe Biden’s DOJ has used this act to unfairly prosecute pro-life activists and many believe he will continue to do so with tools like the Reproductive Rights Complaint Form.
Additionally, once a form is submitted it will become public record, including all identifying details of the violator in question such as their name, phone number and address. This will allow for the continued targeting of pro-life individuals by violent pro-abortion proponents. Over 75 attacks against pregnancy centers and pro-life groups have already occurred over the past year. Allowing anyone to submit a complaint form against pro-life advocates without evidence or proof of legitimate law-breaking encourages the harassment of well-meaning citizens.
Anyone experiencing legitimate harassment or assault should report those instances to the proper authorities to be fully investigated. Accusations of harassment or misconduct should not be made lightly, and the ability to submit a form without repercussions for false accusations encourages exactly that.