Closing arguments were delivered in the NOW vs. Schiedler lawsuit, in which the National Organization for Women (NOW) is suing extremist anti-abortion groups for violating federal racketeering laws. NOW attorney Fay Clayton said, “When they prey on a woman’s fears to make her give up her rights, that’s extortion. ... Return a verdict for all the women of America.”
NOW brought suit against Operation Rescue, the Pro-Action League, the league’s executive director Joseph Scheidler, and activists Andrew Scholber and Timothy Murphy. NOW lawyers claim that these anti-abortionists hindered interstate commerce by trying to shut down the clinics in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).
Clinics that joined NOW in the suit are seeking compensation for damage done to their clinics during anti-abortion demonstrations. Damages could be as much as $1 million.
Operation Rescue California executive director Jeff White testified earlier this week. White said that he did not see a woman assaulted during a Los Angeles clinic protest and did not witness protesters at a Wichita, Kansas clinic surround a car that carried an abortion patient. The anonymous patient testified that protesters surrounded her vehicle on three different occasions, screaming “baby killer” and “murderer” and preventing her from parking in the clinic lot.
Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence
Media Resources: AP, Nando.net - April 14/16, 1998