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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 27, 2003

CONTACT

Communications Department
202-667-5881

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal by Anti-Abortion Extremists

Threats Against Abortion Providers Are Not Protected Speech

"Wanted" Posters and Nuremberg Files Web Site Subject of Appeal

Statement of Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation

"Today's move by the Supreme Court is good news for abortion providers, their families and loved ones, and women across America. The 9th Circuit recognized that "Wanted" posters and the Nuremberg Files site pose a real threat to abortion providers and are not protected speech.

"Abortion providers should not be forced to live in fear, as friends and colleagues are gunned down, and as abortion clinics are bombed and burned. We are in a constant battle to ensure that people are not threatened, intimidated, or terrorized for providing legal health care services to women. Our fight is not over, but today's decision is a critical victory.

"Hopefully the Supreme Court's refusal to hear an appeal of the Ninth Circuit decision, together with the arrest of Eric Rudolph and the conviction of James Kopp, will ensure that the recent decrease in extreme violence against abortion providers will continue. Only when law enforcement and the courts stand together to protect abortion providers is it clear: that a democracy does not allow extremists to use violence and fear to advance their own personal agendas.

"The 9th Circuit ruled that the climate of violence against abortion providers was so strong that the "Wanted" posters and Nuremberg Files constituted threats that are not protected by the First Amendment. The National Abortion Federation maintains a comprehensive tracking system of anti-choice violence. Since 1977 we have documented 7 murders, 17 attempted murders, 41 bombings, 168 arsons, 3 kidnappings, 100 butyric acid attacks, 654 anthrax threats, 355 death threats and 455 stalkings. Two of the murders occurred after the distribution of 'Wanted' posters. The Nuremberg Files web site crossed out Dr. Barnett Slepian's name shortly after he was murdered in 1998. There can be no question that threats against abortion providers and the subsequent violence are connected.

"Sadly, our work to ensure the safety of abortion providers is far from over. More legal action will be needed before the Nuremberg Files web site is shut down. The newest intimidation tactic - web cams that broadcast pictures of women entering abortion clinics - remains a problem. We hope this decision will help our efforts to protect women and abortion providers by shutting down these threatening sites."

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The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.
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