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

November-30-05

Supreme Court Hears Critical Cases to Stop Anti-Abortion Violence - Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President

Supreme Court Hears Critical Cases to Stop Anti-Abortion Violence
Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President

Washington, DC - After the United States Supreme Court heard arguments today in two related class action cases involving anti-abortion clinic violence and access to women's health clinics (Joseph Scheidler, et. al. v. National Organization for Women, et. al. and Operation Rescue, et. al. v. National Organization for Women, et. al.), Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, made the following statement:

When I initiated this case almost 20 years ago as the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), we did so to stop the reign of terror perpetrated by anti-abortion extremists at clinics across the country. We knew then that the threats and attacks were escalating and we believed were being orchestrated. We then went on to prove a pattern of nationwide crimes.

What's at stake in these cases is a nationwide injunction prohibiting violence aimed at clinics, doctors, staff and patients. We believe this lawsuit and injunction have significantly contributed to reducing the level of violence at clinics.

We believe a loss of the injunction may embolden anti-abortion extremists to escalate domestic terrorism towards women's reproductive health clinics. Indeed, we know that following the loss in 1993 of the Bray v. Alexandria Supreme Court decision, violence against abortion providers escalated. Let us be clear - this case, as the courts have determined, is not about peaceful protests or demonstrations. This is about illegal violence against women's health care centers.

Some argue that the Freedom of Entrances to Clinic Entrances law (FACE), which was passed in 1994, alone is sufficient to protect women's health clinics. But we believe that RICO provides important advantages in addition to those provided by FACE. First, RICO provides the opportunity for a nationwide civil injunction, instead of having to pursue injunctions under FACE federal jurisdiction by federal jurisdiction, or U.S. attorney by U.S. attorney. Second, RICO enables pursuit of those who orchestrate the violence, not just those who perpetrate the violence, as under FACE; in other words, we can go after the kingpins, not just the foot soldiers.

Shockingly, the Bush administration's Department of Justice has chosen to argue on the side of Joseph Scheidler and Operation Rescue in both issues before the court - one of the few times in history the Justice Department has entered court to argue for a narrower interpretation of a criminal statute.

Fundamentally, the reason this case is so important - and we have pursued it so long - is it serves to curb violence against clinics. There can be no choice for women if clinics and abortion providers are driven out of business.

###

The Feminist Majority Foundation authored the major amicus brief on clinic violence in these cases on behalf of major reproductive rights and health organizations. FMF runs the nation's oldest and largest clinic defense program, working with the nation's some 650 independent clinics, one of which is the National Women's Health Organization which owns and operates the two named clinics in these cases, and represents the class of virtually all clinics. More information can be found at www.feminist.org/rrights/scheidlercase.htm.

Media Resources:


© 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

11/25/2014 Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal Responds to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision - The following is the statement of Eleanor Smeal, the Founder and President of the Feminist Majority Foundation: "The Feminist Majority Foundation is outraged at the decision not to indict Darren Wilson. This should have been a public trial. . . .
 
11/25/2014 Marissa Alexander Has Accepted a Plea Deal - Marissa Alexander, the woman imprisoned for firing a warning shot in the presence of her abusive husband, chose to accept a plea deal Monday with the state of Florida, pleading guilty to three felony counts of aggravated assault. As part of the plea deal, Alexander received three years imprisonment, but she will be credited for the time she's spent behind bars. . . .
 
11/24/2014 The City of Louisville Has Overwhelmingly Approved a CEDAW Resolution - The city of Louisville, Kentucky approved a resolution that will use the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) as a framework for all future policy aimed at ending gender-based discrimination. Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh introduced the resolution, which passed overwhelmingly on November 6. . . .