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Anti-Abortion Group Seeks to Overturn Landmark RICO Ruling

Anti-abortion extremists, represented by the right-wing American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), have asked the Supreme Court to review the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision, Now v Scheidler, which upheld the use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against anti-abortion blockaders. In 1994, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that RICO could be used against anti-abortion blockaders. Thus, the ACLJ is asking the Court to reconsider its own decision of just eight years ago.

Since this landmark case was decided, the ruling has been instrumental in helping protect abortion providers from anti-abortion violence and harassment. In October 2001, the Seventh Circuit found that repeated assaults by Scheidler et. al., and those acting in concert with them, including restraining clinic workers and patients, entering clinics and destroying medical equipment and blocking doorways and entrances to clinics, were violations of the Hobbs Act and RICO. The Seventh Circuit upheld the nationwide injunction put in place by the lower court, which prohibits any of the plaintiffs from obstructing access to clinics, damaging clinic property, or using force or threats of force against clinics, employees, staff, and patients.

Sources:

WorldNetDaily.com 1/29/02; The Feminist Majority Foundation