The Supreme Court will hear two related cases on Wednesday involving violence against women’s health clinics and access to abortion services. The cases, Scheidler v. National Organization for Women (NOW), et. al. and Operation Rescue v. National Organization for Women, et. al., stem from a case initiated in 1986 by Eleanor Smeal as president of the National Organization for Women (Smeal is currently president of the Feminist Majority Foundation).
This is the third time the Supreme Court will be considering this class action case on behalf of all women who could potentially be patients of women’s health care clinics and virtually all women’s health care providers.
NOW, with the Delaware Women’s Health Organization and the Summit Women’s Health Organization, both owned and operated by the National Women’s Health Organization, filed this case in an effort to stop a nationwide pattern of crimes, including violent assaults and physical attacks on patients, doctors, clinic staff, and police, as well as destruction of medical equipment, supplies, and other clinic property.
At issue is a nationwide injunction prohibiting PLAN and Operation Rescue from conducting blockades, trespassing, damaging property, or committing acts of violence directed at the clinics. The injunction has not affected peaceful protests. Also at issue is whether the Hobbs Act, a federal statute, can be used to curb such violence and whether violations of the Act are sufficient to support the imposition of the nationwide injunction.