Klan Act Offers No Shelter to Abortion Clinics

By McCarthy, Colman | National Catholic Reporter, February 5, 1993 | Go to article overview

Klan Act Offers No Shelter to Abortion Clinics


McCarthy, Colman, National Catholic Reporter


Constitutional differences between race and class discrimination have been clarified by Justice Antonin Scalia and muddied by Justice John Paul Stevens. The two jurists were on opposite sides in Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, a case involving the rights of antiabortion protesters to demonstrate outside an abortion facility.

In a 5-4 vote Jan. 13, with Scalia writing for the majority, the Supreme Court ruled that there are "common and respectable reasons" for opposing abortion and that protests at the Alexandria, Va., clinic were not equal to discrimination against women. A federal law, the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, prohibits conspiracies to deprive "any person or class of persons of the equal protection of the laws."

Because only women can have abortions, argued the National Organization for Women's Legal Defense and Education Fund and citing the 1871 law, obstructing access to a clinic is a class-based action against women.

That would be persuasive, except that women -- assuming broadly, as NOW did, that they are a class in the first place -- are anything but united on opposition to abortion. Many of those arrested at clinics are women. "Men and women," wrote Scalia, "are on both sides of the issue."

The 1871 law focused on race discrimination. It was stretching it to equate some civilly disobedient right-to-lifers with hooded white supremacists with lynching and murder on their bigoted minds. Yet stretching is what Stevens did when writing his dissent: "The case involves no ordinary trespass, nor anything remotely resembling the peaceful picketing of a local retailer. It presents a striking contemporary example of the kind of zealous, politically motivated, lawless conduct that led to the enactment of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and gave it its name."

Scalia's argument -- balanced and well-reasoned -- doesn't leave abortion-seeking women unprotected. Demonstrators who trespass, harass or disrupt can be arrested and removed by local or state police, not federal marshals. "Trespassing upon private property," wrote Scalia, "is unlawful in all states. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Klan Act Offers No Shelter to Abortion Clinics
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.