Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-20-98

Landmark Won! Civil RICO Case Cracks Anti-Abortion Ring of Conspiracy

National Feminist Leader Eleanor Smeal Calls for Use of Criminal RICO to End Violence

Washington DC -- Today, in Chicago, Illinois, a federal jury handed down the precedent-setting decision in the class action RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act) lawsuit, NOW v. Scheidler. This case, originally filed in 1986 when Eleanor Smeal was National President of NOW, was brought in an attempt to end increasing violence, harassment, and intimidation at family planning and abortion clinics nationwide.
Smeal, currently the President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, commented on the national significance of today's decision saying:

"Today, pro-choice forces, after 12 years of litigation, have proven in civil court for the first time that there is a nationwide organized conspiracy to illegally close family planning, abortion, and women's reproductive health clinics. We hope today's decision will embolden federal law enforcement to take a criminal RICO case to shut down the anti-abortion reign of terror once and for all.

For over ten years, we have been telling federal law enforcement that there is an organized campaign of terror being waged against clinics and doctors providing family planning and abortion services. In 1986, we took this case to do all we could as citizens to prevent bloodshed and violence at women's reproductive health clinics nationwide. Ironically, we decided to take this case after the anti-abortion extremist invasion of the Pensacola health clinic where later Dr. John Bayard Britton and clinic escort Colonel James Barrett were murdered.

Finally, after twelve years, we have cracked the violent anti-abortion conspiracy to close abortion clinics, but we will not stop here. We intend to urge federal law enforcement to use criminal RICO and go after each and every one of the anti-abortion extremists who engage in violence and illegal activity to attain their goal of denying women their constitutional right to abortion."

Smeal, commenting on the national impact of the class action lawsuit, said:

"This decision indicates a turning of the anti-abortion violent tide for unsung heroes like Susan Hill, President of the class plaintiff National Women's Health Organization, which represents a class of over 900 women's health clinics nationwide. Every day Hill and her clinics face some of the most severe anti-abortion extremism in the United States. To date, her clinics have been a primary target of anti-abortion terrorism resulting in 15 arsons/bombings, massive harassment leading to over 2,000 arrests, and the murder of one of their providers, Dr. David Gunn."

Media Resources:


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

5/27/2015 California Passes Reproductive FACT Act - The California State Assembly passed the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency (FACT) Act yesterday. AB 775, or the FACT Act, passed 48-25 in a vote, and requires that unlicensed facilities in California that provide pregnancy-related services disclose that they are not licensed medical providers. . . .
 
5/26/2015 Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage - Over the weekend, the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to pass a national referendum legalizing same-sex marriage. Ireland became the first country in the world to pass marriage equality through popular vote on Friday. . . .
 
5/26/2015 Maryland Governor Will Not Veto LGBT Rights Bills - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) has announced that he will not veto two pieces of legislation protecting LGBT rights passed by the state legislature in March, meaning they will soon become law. The Maryland General Assembly passed SB 743 / HB 862 and SB 416 / HB 838 by wide margins and with bipartisan support on March 24, after which both were sent to the Governor's desk. . . .