NOW Wins Victory in Time for Roe V. Wade Anniversary
Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, has agreed to settle in a lawsuit brought by NOW and two abortion clinics 12 years ago. The permanent injunction agreed to by Terry prohibits him from committing violent acts against clinics, the staff and patients, and from belonging to any groups which commit these acts. Violating this prohibition will result in a $15,000 penalty and would allow NOW to reestablish the lawsuit against him. “This injunction will remove the godfather of the ‘Rescue Racket’ from the streets,” said NOW president Patricia Ireland.
Terry’s compliance is a partial victory in NOW v. Scheidler. The case was initiated by then NOW president Eleanor Smeal, after the President of the local Pensacola NOW chapter was injured during a clinic invasion. NOW filed against Joseph Scheidler of Chicago, his Pro-Life Action League, anti-abortion activists, and later, Terry and Operation Rescue.
The US Supreme Court allowed NOW to present a case against the anti-abortions under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). NOW argued that anti-abortion extremists were hindering interstate commerce by trying to shut down the clinics. In NOW v. Scheidler, NOW represents its own members and all non-member women, “ whose rights to the services of women’s health centers in the United States at which abortions are performed have been or will be interfered with by defendants’ unlawful activities.”