Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Abortion Protesters Get Go-ahead!
America's Debate > Archive > Assorted Issues Archive > [A] Big Trials and Legal Cases
Google
AuthorMusician
The recent Supreme Court decision (8-1) to allow abortion protesters to go ahead with their ways of intimidation and threats (perhaps action as well) of violence.

Good for the country (free speech) or bad (coercion and violence)?
Google
Julian
What, specifically, have the Supreme Court said on the issue? Being a Brit I don't get to see much detail.
AuthorMusician
Julien,

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that abortion protesters cannot be regulated under anti-racketeering laws because no materials (cash or otherwise) were exchanged.

Here's a Washington Post story:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/artic...-2003Feb26.html

The full court document isn't available online yet (at least from my search efforts).
Gray Seal
The Supreme Court has found that racketeering does not cover these cases. Other remedies as possible. Restrictions must be placed on such groups. Locally, such groups have been restricted from directly addressing anyone entering or leaving abortion clinics or the offices of people who work at the abortion clinic. They can wave signs and chant but they can not talk to people unless that person speaks to them. Other restrictions should be appropriately applied as needed. Jail time will be the punishment.

Other restrictions are buffer zones of 100 to 200 feet from buildings.

Allowing protesters to do what they want would be coercion. There can be free speech while preventing coercion. We now know racketeerig violations is not the way to accomplish this.
Digital Patriot
I will certainly not condone property damage or the killing of abortion doctors. But I will protect their right to peaceful protest.

The plaintiffs, N.O.W., seem to be trying to block protests by the pro-lifers. Seems to me a classical case of one side trying to silence the other.

If enviornmentalists can sit on a road, and block logging trucks, then pro-lifers can sit at doctors offices, and block abortion patients. It goes both ways...all or nothing. We cannot pick and choose what is legal to protest and what is not.

--cheers
AuthorMusician
Digital Patriot

QUOTE
If enviornmentalists can sit on a road, and block logging trucks, then pro-lifers can sit at doctors offices, and block abortion patients. It goes both ways...all or nothing. We cannot pick and choose what is legal to protest and what is not.


Actually, the environmentalists in your example are doing acts that are already illegal, as are the abortion protesters. The issue has more to do with organizing with the intent to do illegal acts, which, when it involves commerce of some sort, is racketeering. Apparently, organizing to kill doctors isn't covered by the anti-racketeering laws.

I'm not aware that environmentalists have published hit lists for loggers.
turnea
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Mar 2 2003, 06:47 AM)
Apparently, organizing to kill doctors isn't covered by the anti-racketeering laws.

Of course, this case had nothing to do with "organizing to kill doctors"...

QUOTE
The protests included some illegal conduct, such as physical assaults and damage to clinic property, but shutting off access to the clinics did not meet the legal definition of extortion, one of the offenses that must be alleged to support a RICO claim


Clear enough, I does not give protesters the right to pursue such illegal actions. If simply say's this isn't covered by anti-racketeering laws, what is the problem? Obviously the message is not "harass and bomb at will" rolleyes.gif
So exactly what is the issue?
AuthorMusician
QUOTE
So exactly what is the issue?


More web sites and publications dedicated to the harassment and killing of doctors. It's just free speech, right?

I suppose so. Maybe prurient interests of communities could be argued. Naw, do abortion protesters lust for confrontation and murder?

"harass and bomb at will" is the hook, not the subject.

Made you look! cool.gif

It was interesting to hear that if extortion was the goal, then RICO laws would hold up.

Found a link to this case:

SCHEIDLER et al. v. NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, INC., et al.

If abortion protesters can shut down clinics, I guess this means that environmental groups can shut down sawmills?
Amlord
QUOTE
Abortion Protesters Get Go-ahead!, harass and bomb at will


Nice hook.

This issue always boggles my mind.

Hypothetical situation:

An escaped Nazi war criminal from Brazil sets up a clinic in LA to euthenize Jews. The Jews don't come of their own volition (for obvious reasons), but are brought by someone with legal guardianship over them. The Jews are then legally euthenized under legalized assisted suicide laws (I think this law is hypothetical, but probably not that far off...). The "suicide" is made legal by the guardian giving consent.

Now, John Doe starts a protest of this practice, considering it murder. He uses harassing language, calling the parties involves (doctors and guardians, not the victims) murderers, Jew killers, etc. He feels very strongly about this. Is John Doe in the wrong? I agree that if he takes the law into his own hands (assault, murder) he is just as guilty and deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law.

Now substitute the Nazi with an abortion doctor, the guardian with a pregnant woman, and the Jew with an un-born child.

See my point?
Ultimatejoe
I see what you're getting at, but comparing abortion doctors to mass-murderers is absurd and invalidates the rest of your argument, IMHO.

The rest doesn't hold up either though because anti-choice protesters are allowed to use harassing language and do so on a regular basis.
Google
NyArtist26
I'm sorry folks, but it strikes me as amazing that N.O.W. thought it was an even slightly feasible action to use laws meant to stop organized crime to stop protesters.

In no way would I ever condone violence or any other law breaking, in fact I am a pro-choice conservative. I don't like seeing these people out there harassing the clients entering the clinics. But if N.O.W. had won this, it would have created a virtual landslide of lawsuits against protestors. I mean, the whole point of this was to stop these gatherings because a relative few of the protesters are breaking laws in what they do. But take a look at the Internation Monetary Fund Conferences and the protests surrounding the. The majority of those people are peacfuly protesting, but a minority of them begin riots or assault police officers while large crowds yell at and intimidate the delegates as they arrive.

If the decision from the supreme court had been any different, the peoples right to peaceful protest would be done away with because of the minority of these crowds. The best we can do in these situations is arrest those that break the laws and let the peaceful ones protest. It would also be nice if the people around the trouble makers, the ones that don't agree with them, would take steps to stop the troublemakers.
Amlord
QUOTE
I see what you're getting at, but comparing abortion doctors to mass-murderers is absurd and invalidates the rest of your argument, IMHO.

The rest doesn't hold up either though because anti-choice protesters are allowed to use harassing language and do so on a regular basis.


It does not invalidate my point, since this IS the view of the abortion protestors. They argue that the doctors at those clinics are murderers, and are protesting as such.

I really shouldn't have used Jewish/Nazis for example, since they bring an added level of emotion to the debate (which is exactly what I didn't want to do). All I am saying is, that if you take a step back and LOOK at what is going on in those clinics, these protestors have a legitimate basis for their protest, which they believe is anti-murder.
Ultimatejoe
Your point IS invalidated though by making the comparison. Aside from how people feel about Nazi's the fact is that they were operating as per the laws of the land. Abortion protesters who face legal challenges are not.
Digital Patriot
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Mar 5 2003, 07:35 PM)
I see what you're getting at, but comparing abortion doctors to mass-murderers is absurd and invalidates the rest of your argument, IMHO.


QUOTE
Your point IS invalidated though by making the comparison.


your OPINION. Some people consider the unborn to be valuable human life, every bit as much as some who walks and talks.

You can't say someone opinion is invalidated because you disagree. You can disagree, but to deny someone their opinion is disrespectful.

His comparison is quite valid...in MY OPINION...and I agree with it.

--cheers
Ultimatejoe
There is a distinct difference. Abortion doctors don't operate out of hate. They aren't threatened by a fetus. They feel that they are helping people.
Amlord
My comparison is between two groups of people, both of whom end life. Both are legally allowed to do so (one, the abortionist, in fact, the second, the Nazi, by the made up circumstances I described).

I can see that my hypothetical situation is a stretch...but its for illustrative purposes only.

That doesn't mke it invalid.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(amlord @ Mar 5 2003, 07:07 PM)
QUOTE
Abortion Protesters Get Go-ahead!, harass and bomb at will


Nice hook.

This issue always boggles my mind.

Hypothetical situation:

An escaped Nazi war criminal from Brazil sets up a clinic in LA to euthenize Jews. The Jews don't come of their own volition (for obvious reasons), but are brought by someone with legal guardianship over them. The Jews are then legally euthenized under legalized assisted suicide laws (I think this law is hypothetical, but probably not that far off...). The "suicide" is made legal by the guardian giving consent.

Now, John Doe starts a protest of this practice, considering it murder. He uses harassing language, calling the parties involves (doctors and guardians, not the victims) murderers, Jew killers, etc. He feels very strongly about this. Is John Doe in the wrong? I agree that if he takes the law into his own hands (assault, murder) he is just as guilty and deserves to be punished to the full extent of the law.

Now substitute the Nazi with an abortion doctor, the guardian with a pregnant woman, and the Jew with an un-born child.

See my point?

Hypothetical situations and analogies make poor arguments in general. For every analogy to 'prove' one point, there's another to 'prove' exactly the opposite. Here's an example:

There is a giant auto accident with many injuries. Police officers on the scene have blocked traffic and are randomly selecting other passengers in automobiles to provide mandatory (often non consensual) blood donations. An occasional kidney, too, as most people only really need one of these. The rationale being, the accident victims will die without the transfusions, and the passengers are only temporarily inconvenienced. What's the harm?
PeteS in CA
{quote]The recent Supreme Court decision (8-1) to allow abortion protesters to go ahead with their ways of intimidation and threats (perhaps action as well) of violence.[/quote]
This comment is breathtaking, AM! It utterly misrepresents the USSC's decision and falsely equates all pro-life protesters with the few who commited murder and other acts of violence. I guess the part of the sign-on terms of service agreement about not knowingly posting false information isn't enforced.

As another poster pointed out, pro-life protesters are subject to numerous laws, general and specific. The reprehensible individuals who killed Dr. Slepian and a clinic nurse will be tried, and if convicted, punished without application of the RICO law - RICO would not have been the slightest hindrance to the commission of those crimes. Not blocking streets and businesses, not vandalizing, etc. are all laws that apply to pro-life protesters, protesters of any stripe, and people in general and were in place long before RICO, and are not enhanced by RICO.

The attempt to prosecute pro-lifers under RICO was a win-win gamble for NOW. If, ultimately, they had succeeded, they could have used it to suppress all pro-life protests. OTOH, if they lost, as was the case, they forced a number of pro-life organizations to spend massive amounts of money in defending themselves. Though it got trimmed back somewhat by the USSC, the threat of frivolous lawsuits and prosecutions is an economic club that NOW, et al have shown the will to use.

PeteS in CA
Jaime
QUOTE(PeteS in CA @ Mar 30 2003, 01:15 AM)
I guess the part of the sign-on terms of service agreement about not knowingly posting false information isn't enforced.

It's an opinion. AuthorMusician is a very well respected member on this forum and has never intentionally posted false information. I think your accusation is baseless and appears to try to intimidate anyone from debating with you. If you can prove someone is blatantly posting false information to inflame others, REPORT the post. dry.gif
Izdaari
QUOTE(AuthorMusician @ Feb 27 2003, 03:14 AM)
The recent Supreme Court decision (8-1) to allow abortion protesters to go ahead with their ways of intimidation and threats (perhaps action as well) of violence.

Good for the country (free speech) or bad (coercion and violence)?

Good for the country. Trying to use RICO as an end run around the First Amendment was incredibly lame and should have been laughed out of court. In fact, RICO is subject to so much abuse in general that I think we should give serious thought to repealing it.

And AM, it is false and slanderous to say most or even very many abortion protesters have any connection to bombing clinics or killing doctors. But for those who do -- and only for those who do -- I say use something more fearsome than RICO on them: the anti-terrorism laws. Fitting, since it is done to terrorize for a political cause.
This is a simplified version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2014 Invision Power Services, Inc.