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The recent 9-0 Supreme Court decision to wipe out 35-foot buffer zones around abortion clinics simply shows how much smarter Chief Justice John Roberts and his justices are than ordinary people. Prior to the Massachusetts laws establishing 35-foot buffer zones the state had numerous violent acts directed at clinics, employees, and patients, including murder, arson, bombings and personal assaults. With a 35-foot zone it takes only seven seconds for a protester to rush a clinic door. After two murders in the middle 90’s, the state established six-foot buffer zones in an attempt to quell violence. Police called to control the violence described the violent scenes on the property surrounding clinics: “The six-foot buffer zone was impossible to enforce. Everybody is in everybody’s face, no matter what. It’s almost like a goalie’s crease out there.” Hockey fans who watch slashing, tough body checks, and “enforcer” fights would have loved to watch bloody clinic protests . Police recommended that the 35-foot buffer “was by far the most effective way of keeping the peace (New York Times Editorial Board).” The Supreme Court, representing the American Taliban in this case, don’t agree with the Massachusetts police because, after all, what do they know?
Free Speech: Should A Woman Getting A Legal Medical Procedure Be Forced To Listen To a Religious Nutcase Protesting This Basic Right?
Roberts and the other Catholic conservatives on the Court describe the Pro-Life clinic protests as sedate debates controlled by Roberts’s Rules of Order. John Roberts wrote: “Petitioners wish to converse (!) with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks–sites that have hosted discussions about the issues of the day throughout history.” Have Supreme Court justices ever observed a Pro-Life discussion at an abortion site?
Some Fargoans will remember the violent protests at the old Fargo abortion clinic. Yelling, screaming, spitting, cursing, hating protesters aided by chains and pipes locked together at clinic entrances tried to block driveways and entrances. City of Fargo taxpayers spent thousands on the policing of the clinic area. Remember the arson attempts that threatened lives in the neighborhood? Roberts calling protesters screaming “a wish to converse? (!!)” The four liberals on the court seemed to go along with Roberts’s abominable bullshit. What the hell were they thinking-if at all? Republican legislatures have been attempting to pass “Stoopid Wimmin” laws about abortion for forty years.
Roe v. Wade determined that reproductive freedom for women is a basic right. Abortion, with some limits, is legal. Women have a right to an abortion and birth control. Lisa Tuttle in her book Encyclopedia of Feminism adds: “To be realized, reproductive freedom must include not only her right to make those choices freely (abortion and birth control) , without pressure from individual men, doctors, governmental or religious authorities.”
Isn’t This Sweet 77 Year-Old Woman Protester Wearing A Catholic Cross?
One of the challengers quoted by Justice Antonin Scalia is 77-year-old Eleanor McCullen, who often marched on yellow lines of Massachusetts clinics. She said the distance was too great for civil discussion. She said: “Today’s ruling means that I can offer loving help to a woman who wants it, and neither of us will go to jail for the discussion. I am delighted and thankful to God that the court has protected my right to engage in kind, hopeful discussion with women who feel they have nowhere else to turn.” I wonder if she heard Pope Francis, who is also 77, stumble around trying to justify how the Vatican treated women. He said that women were “the most beautiful thing God has made, that theology cannot be done without this feminine touch. The issue of women needs to be gone into in more depth, otherwise you can’t understand the church itself. Priests often end up under the sway of their housekeepers.” Eleanor wears a big cross on the picket lines. I wonder if she thinks about the 98 percent of Catholic women who use birth control during their lifetimes. Recent headlines reported that polls of Catholics around the world proved the Vatican and American bishops are completely “out of touch.” No kidding! Where does she get the idea she must talk to these “stoopid wimmin?” Do they get up one morning and say, “Geez, I think I’ll get an abortion today?”
Justice Samuel Alito, who recently wrote the majority opinion in the Hobby Lobby contraception case, has demonstrated over the years his committed, undying love for corporations and his consummate hatred for persons. He even has voted that corporations are really people--so now you can love both. Where is Alito hiding a pregnant corporation? Where is the corporation jailed for domestic abuse? Does a corporation go through menopause complete with Premarin? Are corporations transgender? What is (its) blood type? Maybe they are also on Planet Corporateland where the Court justices retreat each night.
What Those Sweet Old Ladies And Their Compatriots Do To Abortion Clinics
Roberts, Scalia, Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy don’t seem to have a clue about what happens on clinic protest lines. Starting with the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, murders and violent protests are still taking place. Just between the years 1989-2004 ( only 15 of the 41 years of legal abortion) those nice old ladies and compatriots having quiet conversations on the protest lines have committed the following violent acts: 24 murders and attempted murders; 174 bombings, attempted bombings, and arson; 3,309 acts of invasion, assault and battery, vandalism, trespassing, death threats, burglary, and stalking; 11,448 cases of hate mail, harassing phone calls, and bomb threats; 21,808 arrests made at blockades, 516 blockades, and 99,001 picketing incidents handled by police.
In just the years of 1998-2000, 80 letters were sent to clinics in 16 states threatening Anthrax contamination. Anthrax is a potentially fatal bacteria if spores are inhaled. Most letters turned out to be hoaxes. In 2001 alone there were 554 Anthrax threats. Some of the letters contained Anthrax spores. As an example, on 9/11, the day of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, 150 letters containing Anthrax were mailed from five states to abortion clinics in 13 states. Mailed by an organization called The Army of God, the letters contained the deadly bacteria and death threats. From sweet old ladies? By 1996 clinics had suffered over $13 million in damage from arson and bombing attacks.
California, the largest state, has had more clinics torched and bombed than any other state with 30 such “incidents.” Also 30 percent of the California clinics reported that between 1995-2000 their personnel were “stalked, harassed, threatened, and otherwise targeted at their homes or in other places away from clinics and medical offices.” Statistics covering all of the 41 years evidently have not been kept. Remember the totals in the first paragraph of this section cover only 15 years and come from The National Abortion Federation.
Should Medical Patients WithFeet In The Stirrups Hear Protesters Shouting “MURDERER” Or YOU’RE GOING TO BE THE MOTHER OF A DEAD BABY?”
The Supreme Court keeps emphasizing “free speech” in these cases. Hogwash! Do you see protesters yelling “murderer” at a man going into a clinic to have a vasectomy? Shouldn’t we outlaw all kinds of male birth controls, including amputations? Besides, there is no such thing as free speech in this country. The Republican Supreme Court keeps increasing the value of speech. We used to have “One Man-One Vote.” Then the Supreme Court put a value on speech years ago and it became “One Dollar-One Vote.” With the Citizens United and the McCutcheon decisions we are now at thousands of dollars per adjective for one vote. The Koch boys spent $400 million to buy “free” speech in 2012. Sheldon Adelson put $90 million of his casino money on a politically dead gelding running for president called Newt Gingrich.
Jessica Valenti of The Guardian has been reporting on abortion protesters for years. She has never seen “personal, caring, consensual conversations near the yellow lines.” She writes: “Imagine trying to walk into a building, trying to get medical treatment (it may be for a paps smear, a cancer exam, a mammography, or an annual physical, not an abortion)–and someone screams at you. Someone is two inches from your face–two feet from the front door–and that someone is videotaping you, calling you a whore and murderer. There’s ketchup poured on the snowbanks around you, made to look like spurted blood....People block your way, yelling that you’re going to be “mother to a dead baby.”...These kinds of protesters...are not grandmas praying or kindly “counselors” who just want to talk reasonably to women. These people wait outside clinics to shame and harass you...Picketers yell racist and sexist remarks.”
Ninety Percent Of Abortion Patients Fear For Their Personal Safety
Clinic escorts, often forced to wear bulletproof vests, have seen women who really wanted babies coming to abortion clinics from doctors who have diagnosed their health is in danger from the pregnancy. They receive the same treatment as those seeking abortions from unwanted, unaffordable pregnancies. Over 90 percent of abortion clinic patients, according to research done by Valenti, have expressed concern about their personal safety. What kind of a country, what kind of court, allows fear to rule over a legal activity?
Valenti sums up what this decision means for women: “For the women seeking abortions in the days and weeks to come–and for the providers, workers, and volunteers, who put their lives on the line every day to ensure women have access to safe medical care—this ruling will impact them immediately. It will make women less safe, doctors and clinic workers more fearful, and violent harassers emboldened.”
Supreme Court Insists On Suitable Order And Decorum Around Their Judicial Clinic
Supreme Court justices thought the 35-foot buffer zone in Massachusetts was way too large to permit a civil, consensual exchange of views. The buffer zone around their judicial clinic measures 252 feet from the front door. In June of 2013 the Court made it unlawful for protesters to demonstrate on Supreme Court grounds. How do you communicate over 250 feet? By United Parcel Service? By Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail? By electronic megaphone? Pony Express? Smoke signals? Now here is the Courts “silencer” law: “The term ‘demonstration’ includes demonstrations, picketing, speechmaking, marching, holding vigils or religious services, and all other like forms of conduct that involve the communication or expression of views or grievances, engaged by one or more persons, the conduct of which is reasonably likely to draw a crowd or onlookers.” These rules would even eliminate a small drone flying a banner with a huge index finger pointed at the Court.
Dr. Shannon Connolly of Los Angeles once worked as a family doctor in the clinic involved in the buffer zone law. She expressed these views in a letter to USA Today: “Before the enactment of the state’s current law (just nullified), protesters were so aggressive that police barricades were needed in front of the clinic, with K-9s and squad cars. Some protesters would position themselves at the clinic entryway, posing as staff and telling patients that the clinic had been closed. Others screamed obscenities and photographed patients, many of whom were seeking basic preventive care such as pap smears or HIV testing.” Dr. Connolly often feared for her own safety.
Last year there were about six million pregnancies in the U.S., three million of them unintended. Between 10 and 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriages. Many women don’t even realize they have miscarried. The American Taliban, with delegates from many of the 32,000 “religious” denominations, has managed to turn procreation, sex, and something beautiful into something bad, ugly and frightening for women--in a very confused culture.
Raymond is a former Marine officer and school board superintendent and resides in Detroit Lakes.