Anti-Abortion Poster Case Rejected by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal in the case of American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) v. Planned Parenthood for the third time today. The appeal sought to question whether lower courts properly interpreted the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) (see PDF) by rewarding monetary damages.

The case comes out of a suit originally filed in 1995 by four physicians who were depicted on anti-abortion “wanted” posters and on an anti-abortion website entitled the “Nuremburg Files.” The web site listed the addresses and phone numbers of the physicians, according to the Associated Press.

The circuit court decision (see PDF) reasoned that “ACLA was aware that a ‘wanted’- type poster would likely be interpreted as a serious threat of death or bodily harm by a doctor in the reproductive health services community who was identified on one, given the previous pattern of ‘WANTED’ posters identifying a specific physician followed by that physician’s murder. The same is true of the posting about these physicians on that part of the ‘Nuremberg Files’ where lines were drawn through the names of doctors who provided abortion services and who had been killed or wounded. We are independently satisfied that to this limited extent, ACLA’s conduct amounted to a true threat and is not protected speech.”


First Amendment Center; 9th Circuit Court Decision; Associated Press 10/6/08

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