Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Statement From NOW:

" Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling that could add to the increasing difficulty women face in obtaining reproductive health services. If the Court's 8-0 decision in Scheidler, et al., Vs. National Organization for Women (NOW), and Operation Rescue Vs. NOW ushers in a return to clinic violence in the United States, NOW stands ready to fight in every jurisdiction.
For two decades, NOW has pursued every legal strategy, including 3 Supreme Court cases, to stave off the violent attacks that gripped this country from the mid-1980's to the mid-1990's. This case, brought under the RICO Act, was one of the most successful long term strategies. The federal jury found unanimously that these defendants had engaged in nationwide criminal enterprise to close women's health clinics through extortion, violence and threats of violence, and specified over a hundred acts in furtherance of their efforts.
The filing of this case and the resulting injunction, which protested clinics nationwide, contributed to the dramatic reduction in clinic violence that we have witnessed in recent years, and we will continue to use every legal tool at our disposal to protect women's right to obtain abortion services.
The case was never about protests or pickets- it was about violence and extortion. But without strong protections against clinic assaults, the legal right to abortion could become meaningless. If women are too terrified to keep their doors open, then we will have lost the fight for reproductive freedom even with Roe Vs. Wade still on the books.
We will not let that happen. NOW helped to draft and enact the Freedom of Access To Clinic Entrances(FACE) Act in 1994, and we will use that law to its fullest extent in pursuing those who would use violent means to prevent women from making their own reproductive decisions. As Susan Hill (NOW president) said, " We cannot allow anti-abortion extremists to take this decision as a signal to once again increase violent activity aimed at clinics and clinic staff."
In the coming weeks, our attorneys will make available a FACE kit that local clinics and lawyers can use to enforce the FACE Act in their communities. We must do whatever is necessary to protect doctors and patients, or our legal right to abortion will be a hollow shell.
Joseph Scheidler, Randall Terry and other leaders of the self-described "pro-life mafia" had vowed to stop abortion "by any means necessary", and the ensuing attacks included arson, bombings, violent blockades, death threats, and even murder. By vacating the injunction on narrow, technical grounds, the Supreme Court sided today with thugs and bullies, not peaceful protesters."

In my years in Riot Grrrl, I participated in a few "missions" in where we provided body guards and assistance to women arriving to health clinics to obtain abortions. They were very effective and I felt a great sense of pride in helping to protect my fellow women. We provided these women a safe entrance and escort to and from the building, as well as some much needed muscle in beating back the anti-abortion protestors, who at times did result in violence. The appriciation we recieved from these women and the clinic staff was emence. We cannot allow these violent protests to occur at women's health clinics. I urge you all to support your local NOW chapter, they continue to fight for women's rights & we must support and nurture this in anyway, shape, or form. Whether it's donating money to NOW, or taking just one day a month to volunteer, or even by helping spread the word via your blogs-would be helpful to the cause & greatly appriciated by women everywhere. http://now.org