Anti-Abortion Extremist Rudolph Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole
Eric Robert Rudolph was sentenced to two life sentences without parole on Monday for the 1998 bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama women's health clinic, which killed an off-duty police officer and critically injured a nurse. Judge C. Lynwood also ordered Rudolph to pay restitution to the bombing victims in the amount of $1.2 million. Rudolph will be sentenced next month to two more life terms for bombings in Atlanta, including a lesbian and gay nightclub and the Atlanta Olympic Park in 1996. The Olympic Park bombing killed one person and injured 111 others. Under an agreement reached with federal prosecutors, Rudolph pled guilty to all four bombings and disclosed the location of 250 pounds of explosives he had hidden in a populated area of Western North Carolina in exchange for prosecutors waiving the death penalty.
At the sentencing, victims had the opportunity to address Rudolph, including Birmingham, Alabama clinic nurse Emily Lyons, who underwent 21 operations to treat injuries from the bombing. She told Rudolph at the hearing, “I faced 5 pounds of dynamite and hundreds of nails yet I survived. Do I look afraid? You damaged my body, but you did not create the fear you sought,” reports the Associated Press. While Lyons’ injuries prevent her from returning to work, she has publicly spoken out against clinic violence and has raised money to support abortion clinics.
“We are glad to see closure in the Eric Robert Rudolph case,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “However, we are concerned that law enforcement has never charged any other suspects with aiding Rudolph either in planning or carrying out these bombings or in eluding capture for five years. A drawing of a second possible suspect for the Atlanta clinic was circulated widely at the time but no one was ever charged.” The Army of God, a network of anti-abortion extremists who promote violence against abortion providers and are suspected in clinic bombings and attempted assassinations and the murder of abortion providers, clamed credit for the Atlanta abortion clinic and lesbian nightclub bombings. “Experts now know so much more about terrorist organizations,” Smeal continued. “A lone wolf theory is entirely inconsistent with such knowledge.”
The Feminist Majority Foundation, through its National Clinic Access Project, continues to work with law enforcement, tracks and researches anti-abortion extremists, and pursues litigation strategies to bring violent extremists like Rudolph to justice and end violence against women’s health clinics.
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. . . .