DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     February 5-7, 1999     vol. 10, no. 25

from a CATHOLIC perspective

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          CHICAGO (CWNews.com) - A pro-life leader who had previously been the object of a civil lawsuit brought by abortionists decried the verdict by a federal jury on Tuesday that fined a group of pro-life defendants more than $100 million.

          Joseph Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League called the verdict in the case brought in Portland, Oregon outrageous and an attack on the First Amendment. Planned Parenthood and a group of abortionists sued the pro-lifers under the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act which made it a crime to incite violence against abortionists. The plaintiffs contended that a series of "Wanted Posters" and a Web site constituted that incitement.

          Scheidler said the posters were simply requests for information on malpractice by the abortionists. "The pro-life activists in Portland, Oregon, were not accused of injuring anyone or any property, but only of issuing two pieces of paper seeking malpractice information on some abortionists and requesting prayers for their conversion. Yet the defendants are asked to pay $107 million in damages because the abortionists are paranoid!" said Scheidler.

          He also accused the media of distorting the facts of the case, linking the controversial Nuremberg Files Web site -- which listed abortionists' name with the names of those who had been killed crossed out -- with the defendants. "Neal Horsley, originator of the Web site, is neither a defendant nor a member of the defendant organizations in the case," he said.

          Scheidler said he hoped the defendants appeal the verdict because of the potential damage to free speech in the US. "Americans had better hold onto their copies of the Constitution," he said. "It may be soon be unlawful even to quote the First Amendment, at the rate we are going."

Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales. Both CWN and NE are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

February 5, 1999       volume 10, no. 25


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