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News ::
Take Back the....RIGHTS!
30 Apr 2002
The National Organization of Women (NOW), the eventís prime mover over the years, deserves praise for raising awareness of the issues of violence against women. But, this is not to say they deserve praise in all that they do.
Its Take Back the Night time again, an event thatís hard NOT to support. Violence against women, against anyone, should never be tolerated in our midst. The National Organization of Women (NOW), the eventís prime mover over the years, deserves praise for raising awareness of the issues of violence against women. But, this is not to say they deserve praise in all that they do.
Currently there is a case about to go before the U.S. Supreme Court in which the justices will review whether lower courts went too far in applying the federal Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations Act, called RICO for short, to anti-abortion activities; a legal maneuver that was initiated by NOW in an effort to curtail anti-abortion protests at womenís clinics. The Supreme Court previously ruled in the same case that NOW and the clinics could sue protesters under RICO. That set a very bad precedent for all protesters, even those who support NOW and other efforts at bringing about social or environmental justice. Obviously, the very same statute could be used against progressive groups. In short, NOW screwed up royally.
The question about to go before the court is whether the law was used correctly. The court will decide whether civil disobedience and violence amount to extortion, one of the basis for a RICO charge and the one NOW originally focused upon. More importantly, the justices will also decide whether RICO allows groups, individuals, or perhaps the government to demand the kind of far-reaching suppression on protests in the future. I hope youíre following this because itís headed right for Big Brotherís burgeoning bag of tricks.
NOW has managed to throw the baby out with the bath water. Next Fall weíll see if the foul wind that often blows from the direction of the U.S. Supreme Court blows that bath water right back in NOWís faceÖ..and the faces of those who would support them.
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