Statement of Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal
WASHINGTON, DC – We are shocked and dismayed that a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously chosen to limit and weaken the protections guaranteed by Congress through the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). Under the reasoning of today’s decision in Planned Parenthood, et al. v. American Coalition of Life Activists, et al., abortion providers and clinic staff must endure the distribution of "Wanted" posters and Web sites that the FBI, a federal jury, and a district court have agreed are threats of violence.
How can the Court ignore that these defendants – anti-abortion extremists and the groups they belong to – acted together to target doctors and clinics when they issued a "Deadly Dozen" list of doctors? How can the Court ignore that "Wanted" posters were distributed and seen as threatening, when historically the distribution of similar posters preceded the murders of doctors? How can the Court ignore the intimidation of the Nuremberg Files Web site, when even the FBI took steps to warn doctors and clinics of the possible dangers that existed when their names were added to that site?
The Court has gallingly characterized anti-abortion extremists as modern day patriots. Such language may only serve to embolden them to step up threats and their campaign of terror. Our research shows, that when the Supreme Court refused to curtail these terrorist activities (Bray v. Alexandria), violence at clinics escalated.
The initial jury verdict in this case chilled the anti-abortion reign of terror. But if this appellate court decision is left to stand, it will unleash it once again.
Should this Court ruling stand, it encourages a society where terror can be increasingly used to solve political debates. Remember that today threats of violence can be projected worldwide in split seconds over the Internet. The Ninth Circuit’s ruling may lead to an unraveling of a civil society – this is about more than anti-abortion violence, but about civility and democracy.
We fear a resurgence of anti-abortion violence if these extremists can threaten and target doctors with impunity. Our eighth annual National Clinic Violence Survey shows that severe anti-abortion violence remains an enduring problem at our nation’s reproductive health clinics with 20% reporting severe violence or threats in 2000.
The Feminist Majority Foundation filed an amicus brief for the plaintiffs in this case and runs the largest and oldest Clinic Access Project in the nation.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. The court's decision denied their request to temporarily block the legislation pending a final ruling on its constitutionality, rubber stamping the efforts of Oklahoma politicians to force doctors to use an outdated protocol for administering a medication abortion using the drug mifepristone - one that the medical community and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have rejected in favor of a new standard of care that calls for a significantly lower dosage. . . .
10/29/2014 North Dakota Supreme Court Upholds Abortion Restrictions - The North Dakota Supreme Court yesterday upheld a set of misguided restrictions on medication abortion, allowing what is effectively a ban on early, non-surgical abortions in the state to go into effect immediately.
The decision overturned a lower court order finding the law, known as HB 1297, unconstitutional and permanently blocking its enforcement. . . .
10/29/2014 Georgia Court Refuses to Recognize 40K Voter Registrations From Primarily People of Color and Young People - A state court judge on Tuesday refused to order the Georgia Secretary of State to add some 40,000 voters to the voter rolls, potentially disenfranchising thousands of African Americans and other people of color in the state.
Judge Christopher Brasher of the Fulton County Superior Court denied a petition from the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (LCCR), the New Georgia Project and the Georgia branch of the NAACP asking the court to force Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) to process an estimated 40,000 "missing" voter registrations.
More than 100,000 voters were registered by the three groups, but about a third of those registered never made the rolls. . . .