For Immediate Release

November 29, 2005

Supreme Court to Hear Two Cases to Stop Anti-Abortion Violence on Nov. 30

On Wednesday, November 30, at 10 am, Scheidler et al. v. National Organization for Women et al. and Operation Rescue et al. v. National Organization for Women et al. will be argued before the Supreme Court. These cases relate to stopping illegal violence directed against women’s health clinics, abortion providers and their patients. The Bush administration’s Department of Justice has chosen to support the positions of Joseph Scheidler and Operation Rescue.

Under the leadership of then-president Eleanor Smeal (now president of the Feminist Majority Foundation) NOW initiated this case nearly 20 years ago in an effort to stop anti-abortion extremists from continuing to plan and organize violence at women’s health clinics. Two clinics of the National Women’s Health Organization (NWHO) joined NOW in taking the case. The self-described “pro-life Mafia” planned to end abortion by closing every clinic that provided abortion services. At trial, NOW and NWHO proved, as cited in their brief before the Supreme Court, that a “nationwide pattern of crimes included violent assaults and physical attacks on patients, clinic staff, and police, plus destruction of medical equipment, supplies, and other clinic property.”

The Feminist Majority Foundation authored the major amicus brief on clinic violence on behalf of major reproductive health and rights organizations.


Eleanor Smeal, president, Feminist Majority Foundation Kim Gandy, president, NOW Susan Hill, president, National Women’s Health Organization


Supreme Court arguments in Scheidler v. NOW and Operation Rescue v. NOW


Wednesday, Nov. 30 9:00am demonstration begins 10:00am arguments begin

This is the third time the Supreme Court will be considering this class action case filed by NOW on behalf of all women who could potentially be patients of the approximately 2,000 health care clinics and by two named clinics (both owned and operated by NWHO) representing the class of clinics themselves.

Respondents’ briefs and amicus briefs in this case, including an amicus brief signed by 47 members of Congress in support of the respondents, and the Feminist Majority Foundation’s amicus brief, explain in detail the issues before the Supreme Court, a history of the illegal violence, bombings and murders and other background. More information can be found at Also see attached backgrounder on the cases.


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