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. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .