In a victory for pro-choice advocates, the US Supreme Court let stand a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that WANTED-style posters and an Internet hit list are threats under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE). “In deciding to reject the anti-abortion extremists’ appeal, the Supreme Court today has made it clear that FACE prohibits not only acts of violence, but threats of violence against abortion providers,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF). “With the recent adverse decision in NOW v. Scheidler, this decision upholding FACE is more important than ever in countering anti-abortion clinic violence.”
The decision comes at a time when clinic violence levels are rising, according to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Violence Survey. In addition, the survey found an apparent reduction in the response to and prosecution of potential FACE violations by federal law enforcement authorities. “Threats are not protected by the First Amendment,” said Katherine Spillar, executive vice president of FMF. “We urge the U.S. Department of Justice to aggressively pursue and prosecute anti-abortion extremists under FACE.”
The Feminist Majority Foundation filed the major amicus brief on clinic violence in Planned Parenthood of Columbia/Willamette, et al. v. American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA), et al, better known as the “Nuremberg Files” case.