Eleanor Smeal Vows to Keep Fighting Anti-Abortion Violence
WASHINGTON, DC – Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, promised to continue to defend women’s reproductive health care clinics, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision today in NOW v. Scheidler. Smeal initiated the case as president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1986.
“Before this lawsuit,” Smeal said, “we protected the clinics with our bodies. We will do what it takes — stand in front of clinics as we did before, use the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and every other legal option — to make sure women can exercise the right to safe, legal abortion.”
The Supreme Court’s decision today rules that forcible blockades of clinics orchestrated by Joseph Scheidler, the Pro-Life Action Network, and Operation Rescue did not meet the definition of extortion under the Hobbs Act because the defendants did not walk away with tangible property.
“It is tragic that the Supreme Court has decided that physical property has more rights than women’s freedom of choice and lives,” Smeal said.
“Religious fundamentalists should not be excused from extortion simply because they did not walk away with money in their pocket,” added Smeal. “If this is the law, then anyone with an ideological disagreement with a business can use force or violence to close down that business and the business will have no means to defend itself. Today it is rights of women, tomorrow it could be the rights of a synagogue or a church.”
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .