IFAS | Freedom Writer | Summer 2001 | nuremberg.html

'Nuremberg Files' hate site protected

On March 28th, a federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled that offensive speech does not equal threatening speech. The ruling came when a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a $109 million verdict against 13 militant antiabortionists and two antiabortion groups, American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA), and Advocates for Life Ministries. Central to the suit was the Internet site, Nuremberg Files Project, which listed doctors who perform abortions as "baby butchers."

"The goal of the project," according to David Crane, national director of ACLA, was "to gather all available information on abortionists and their accomplices for the day when they may be formally charged and tried at Nuremberg-type trials for their crimes."

In 1995, the ACLA published a poster called "the deadly dozen." According to Crane, "It exposed 12 abortionists nationwide. The media and the federal government called it a 'hit list.' Some of the abortionists were even tracked down on their vacations and were told that they were on a hit list. So, what we could probably never accomplish with our exposure campaign, the government did for us very effectively!"

Dr. Barnett Slepian, allegedly shot down in his home by James Kopp, was listed as a "baby butcher" on the Nuremberg Files Project website. After his murder, a line was drawn through his name.

The plaintiffs in the case, four doctors, Planned Parenthood, and a clinic in Portland, Oregon, originally were awarded $107 million in a suit against the antiabortionists. The appeals court overruled that decision.

In early April, Planned Parenthood, and forty-three members of Congress filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the appeals court to reverse its decision. They wrote that the appeals court disregarded Congress's intent when Congress passed the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinics Act.

© 2001 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.