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

February-26-03

Supreme Court Sides With Anti-Abortion Protestors

The US Supreme Court decided today 8-1 that abortion clinics could not be protected from forcible blockades by anti-abortion extremists under federal racketeering laws. The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) and the National Organization for Women (NOW) immediately issued statements promising to continue to defend women’s reproductive rights despite the Supreme Court’s verdict in NOW v. Scheidler, a landmark case initiated in 1986 by FMF president Eleanor Smeal as president of NOW to curtail violence against women’s reproductive health care centers.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice William Rehnquist argued that because the defendants did not walk away with tangible property from the clinics, they could not be punished under the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Furthermore, Rehnquist wrote, “even when their acts of interference and disruption achieved their ultimate goal of ‘shutting down’ a clinic that performed abortions, such acts did not constitute extortion.” Anti-abortion extremist Joseph Scheidler, one of the defendants, said that Operation Rescue is already planning to increase its anti-abortion protests, according to Voice of America.

“It is tragic that the Supreme Court has decided that physical property has more rights than women’s freedom of choice and lives,” said Smeal. “Religious fundamentalists should not be excused from extortion simply because they did not walk away with money in their pocket. 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.”

NOW president Kim Gandy said in a statement that “a woman’s right to seek medical services from a clinic, and the clinics right to provide these services … [are] now under greater threat… With this reversal, NOW rededicates itself to the protection of women’s legal right to abortion.”

Justice John Paul Stevens submitted the only dissenting opinion. Stevens criticized the Court’s “murky” opinion and argued that the decision limits the protection of property owners.

Media Resources: Supreme Court decision 2/26/03; Voice of America 2/26/03; Associated Press 2/26/03; Feminist Majority Foundation, NOW release 2/26/03


© 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

10/21/2014 Afghanistan's New First Lady Advances Women's Issues - Just a few days after moving to the presidential palace, Afghanistan's new First Lady Rula Ghani said that she hopes to encourage greater respect for women. Rula Ghani already broke tradition by participating in her husband, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's, campaign for President. . . .
 
10/21/2014 Hulu Silences Rape Survivor Speaking Out Against Anti-Abortion Amendment 67 in Colorado - Hulu, an online, ad-supported streaming service, has refused to run an advertisement from the "No on 67" campaign in Colorado, citing the company's policy regarding "controversial" political positions on issues like abortion. In a letter to the CEO of Hulu, dated October 10, the Vote No on 67 Campaign, which is supported by the Feminist Majority Foundation, asked the company to reconsider its unwillingness to air a 35-second spot featuring a rape survivor's testimony about the far-reaching impact of Colorado's proposed Amendment 67. . . .
 
10/21/2014 Obama Administration Issues New Rule to Strengthen Response to Campus Sexual Violence - The Obama Administration announced a new rule last week to more effectively address sexual violence on college campuses by increasing transparency around campus disciplinary proceedings involving sexual violence and establishing rights for survivors within those proceedings. The new rule, announced by the Department of Education, implements changes to the Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid in the United States to publicly report crime information. . . .