A suit filed by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, a women's clinic, and five doctors against creators of the "Nuremberg Files" Web site began yesterday in Portland.
The suit, originally filed in 1995, charges that the Nuremberg Files Web site violates the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) by inciting violence against abortion doctors and their patients. Passed in 1994, FACE made it a felony offense to blockade or commit violence against women's health care clinics and workers. The law was enacted to combat arsons and bombings of women's health care clinics and the murders and attempted murders of abortion providers committed by anti-abortion activists.This trial marks the first time that FACE has been used to try threats of violence, rather than actual physical confrontations.
The Nuremberg Files Web site, at http://www.christiangallery.com/atrocity/ publishes the names, addresses, social security numbers, license plate numbers of abortion providers, pro-choice activists, and other individuals the site creators believe are guilty of "crimes against humanity." Also available on the site are the names and birthdates of the spouses and children of targeted individuals, pictures and videotapes of targeted individuals and their homes, cars, workplaces, and friends.
In addition to making this highly sensitive, personal information available to all, the site also actively encourages visitors to seek out and obtain additional information to be posted online. Site creators also encourage photographers and computer graphics producers to "exercise creative license" in their pictures of aborted fetuses -- implying that the photos can be doctored or completely fabricated.
In a hit list of targeted individuals that includes abortion providers, security officers who protect abortion clinics, pro-choice activists, clinic owners, clinic workers, pro-choice judges and politicians, the names of murdered individuals are crossed out with a line, and the names of the wounded are shaded in gray.
Center for Reproductive Law & Policy Director and lawyer Bonnie Jones commented, "Sites like Nuremberg are a threat to doctors because the anti-abortion movement in the United States follows up on threats like that with violence. These are not words in isolation. They are typically followed up with murder."
Defendants claim that their site represents a political protest, and that they have a First Amendment right to publish it. Defendant Michael Bray is a Reformed Lutheran pastor, a convicted clinic arsonist and author of A Time to Kill, a book which advocate murdering abortion providers. In a statement made to the Associated Press, Bray threatened, "If you are blocked of public protests .... it leaves only one option: the covert use of force -- vandalism, blowing up places and terminating doctors."
First Amendment specialist Rodney Smolla of the University of Richmond law school disagrees. "You have to ask what is the ideological purpose for including all the detail [addresses, social security numbers, etc.]. It seems that the information adds little if anything to the political debate but does provide very practical advice for someone who wants to commit murder."
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .