Anti-abortion extremists said they cannot afford the nearly $86,000 in damages they were ordered to pay two abortion clinics in the landmark case NOW vs. Scheidler. Defendants Joseph Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, Operation Rescue, Anthony Scholber and Timothy Murphy claim they used up all available funds on trial fees. Scheidler commented, “A million dollars, a billion dollars, a trillion dollars, the national debt -- they won’t get it.”
Operation Rescue, Scheidler and his colleagues were found liable for violating the Federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law by attempting to shut down two abortion clinics through physical violence, threats and other means.
National Organization for Women (NOW) attorney Fay Clayton said she does not believe the anti-abortion claims and that she wants more than $1 million in legal fees in addition to the damages awarded by the jury, which are likely to be tripled by the judge under the civil RICO law.
Clayton commented on Cardinal Francis George of Chicago’s statement that the anti-abortion protesters had been involved in acts similar to civil rights demonstrations of the 1960s. “Martin Luther King taught nonviolent civil disobedience,” said Clayton. “These guys have done non-civil violent disobedience.”
Co-plaintiff and President of the National Women’s Health Organization (NWHO) Susan Hill said that she has received hundreds of calls from clinics and abortion providers wanting to file claims against the anti-abortion groups. Hill said, “They’ve also told me that they’re relieved, that they went in safely today.” She said, “They felt better. They felt safer.”
Feminist Majority Press Release:
Landmark Win! Civil RICO Case Cracks Anti-Abortion Ring of Conspiracy