Antiabortion Methods under Legal Scrutiny

The Christian Century, January 27, 1999 | Go to article overview

Antiabortion Methods under Legal Scrutiny


A Web site that targets doctors who perform abortions is the subject of a trial that opened January 7 in Oregon. Meanwhile, a Florida abortion clinic owner has sued two online services, claiming that they provided antiabortion activists with personal information about visitors to her facility.

The trial in Portland, Oregon, centers on a Web site called "The Nuremberg Files: Visualize Abortionists on Trial" and whether it is a threat to physicians or a protected form of free speech. The trial is the result of a suit by the Portland Planned Parenthood chapter, a Portland clinic and five doctors who are seeking $200 million in damages from Advocates for Life Ministries, the American Coalition of Life Activists and other individuals who disseminate information about the Web site and distribute fliers and wanted posters criticizing abortion providers.

Monica Miller of Milwaukee, the leader of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and a former defendant, said the plaintiffs "want to suppress pro-life speech" that groups like hers use to "expose the reality of abortion." The plaintiffs contend that the Web site and posters could incite violence that is banned by the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinics law.

"Sites like Nuremberg are a threat to doctors because the antiabortion movement in the United States follows up ... with violence," argued Bonnie Jones, an attorney for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. …

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