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Wednesday, February 28, 2006


NAF Communications Department

NAF Disappointed with Supreme Court's Decision in Now v. Scheidler

The National Abortion Federation is disappointed that the Supreme Court narrowly read a federal law as not providing abortion providers with protection from extreme anti-choice protesters. The Court ruled today that a federal racketeering law, specifically the Hobbs Act, does not extend to the widespread violence and threats of violence perpetrated by Joseph Scheidler and his "Pro-Life Mafia." However, this ruling does not give anti-choice extremists the right to commit illegal or criminal activity outside clinic entrances.

"This is not a victory for anti-choice protesters," said Vicki Saporta, NAF President and CEO. "Clinics are protected under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and we will continue to use this law to keep protesters from interfering with women seeking necessary reproductive health care services."

When the Now v. Scheidler lawsuit was initiated in 1986, there was no specific federal law that protected abortion providers from anti-choice violence and preserved patient access to abortion clinics. Congress passed the FACE Act in 1994 and made the use of "force, threat of force or physical obstruction" to prevent someone from providing or receiving reproductive health services a federal crime.

"Congress passed the FACE Act to ensure that women could access safe, legal reproductive health care services free from threats and violence," said Saporta. "We have used this law since 1994 to protect providers from violence and ensure that those committing violence are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."


The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers in the United States and Canada. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care to promote health and justice for women. Our members include health care professionals at clinics, doctors' offices, and hospitals, who together care for more than half the women in both countries who choose abortion each year. For more information, visit our website at www.prochoice.org

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