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Feb. 26, 2003|
Supreme Court Rules In Favor of Scheidler |
In an 8-1 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court (with Justice Paul Stevens dissenting) ruled today in Scheidler v. National Organization for Women that federal racketeering and extortion laws were improperly used to punish pro-life protesters. The ruling, which applies to protests of all kinds, lifts a nationwide injunction prohibiting people from interfering with abortion clinic business. The court’s ruling is a victory for Joe Scheidler, director of the Chicago-based Pro-Life Action League, Operation Rescue, and others who were ordered to pay damages to abortion clinics and were barred from protesting outside abortion clinics for the past 10 years.
The ruling ends a case begun in 1986 when the National Organization for Women (NOW) and two abortion clinics in Delaware and Wisconsin accused the pro-life groups of racketeering and extortion and went to court claiming that the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the Hobbs Act, a 1946 law aimed at crushing organized crime, should protect businesses [abortion clinics] from violent protests that drive away clients.
Chief Justice Rehnquist, writing for the majority, said that when protesters do not "obtain" property, they cannot be punished under federal extortion laws. He said there is no dispute that abortion protesters interfered with clinic operations and in some cases committed crimes. "But even when their acts of interference and disruption achieved their ultimate goal of 'shutting down' a clinic that performed abortions, such acts did not constitute extortion," he said. (AP – 2/26/03)
Congratulations to Joe Scheidler and all the pro-lifers involved who endured years of persecution and great personal and financial sacrifice at the hands of NOW and the Federal courts. Joe and others will now return to their life-saving mission of peacefully counseling outside the clinics. We wish them well.
Human cloning has been the subject of debate by the sixth committee of the UN General Assembly. A current proposal by France and Germany would ban cloning only if the cloned embryo is allowed to live, but allow it if the embryo is subjected to medical experiments in which he or she would die. The action by the German Parliament, for which all the major German political parties voted, represents a strong rebuke to the government of German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who supports killing cloned human embryos in research.
Observers hope that the declaration will bring the German government in line with the United States, Spain, the Philippines, and Italy, all of which want a total ban on the cloning of human embryos. There is a further possibility that Great Britain's endorsement of human cloning for research may become a more isolated position while the call for a total ban at the UN may gain momentum. (C-FAM Friday Fax – 2/21/03)
Poland, a nation of 40 million people in which abortion was legal during 44 years of Communist rule, averaged around 150,000 abortions per year. In 1993 abortion was outlawed. By 2000 the annual number of abortions had dropped to 138! To read about these and other exciting statistics you can order the brochure by contacting Hayes Publishing Co., Inc Phone: 513/681-7559; Fax: 513/681-9298; e-mail: [email protected].
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Republican National Coalition for Life Box 618 Alton Illinois 62002|
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