Posted by Jeff from d53-251-230.try.wideopenwest.com (126.96.36.199) on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 at 10:41AM :
Supreme Court Rules for Anti-Abortion Groups
23 minutes ago
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that federal racketeering and extortion laws cannot be used against anti-abortion groups for engaging in a nationwide conspiracy to shut down health clinics.
By an 8-1 vote, the high court said in an opinion by Chief Justice William Rehnquist the judgment that the anti-abortion activists had violated the racketeering laws must be reversed.
The civil lawsuit against Operation Rescue, the Pro-Life Action League and three of the league's leaders was brought by the National Organization for Women and others. At issue were tactics that included violent demonstrations to block access to clinics.
The lawsuit invoked the federal extortion and racketeering laws and charged that anti-abortion protesters illegally conspired to use violence and intimidation to drive clinics out of business.
The ruling, a setback for the abortion rights activists, marked the latest development in a legal battle that began in 1986. Only Justice John Paul Stevens dissented.
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