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NOW v. OPERATION RESCUE

November 8, 1989

NOW, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
OPERATION RESCUE, et al., Defendants


Louis F. Oberdorfer, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: OBERDORFER

LOUIS F. OBERDORFER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 The complaint alleges five causes of action. Three of those are based on state law claims of trespass, tortious interference with business relationships, and public nuisance. The two federal causes of action allege a conspiracy under 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) to deny the constitutional rights to travel and privacy of those women who seek services offered by plaintiffs.

 A hearing on plaintiff's application was held on November 7 and 8, 1989. The following findings of fact and conclusions of law are made pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a).

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Four of the plaintiffs render advice and medical service with respect to abortion and family planning. The Capitol Women's Center and the Hillcrest Women's Surgi-Center are located in the District of Columbia. The Metropolitan Family Planning Institute is located in Maryland. The Commonwealth Women's Clinic is located in Virginia. In addition, plaintiff Planned Parenthood provides medical services at sites in the Metropolitan Washington area -- one located in the District of Columbia and the other located in Silver Spring, Maryland. See Complaint at paras. 9, 11-14. A significant number of patients travel across state lines to obtain medical services at these sites. See Dickenson-Collins Aff. at 4; Codding Aff. at 3.

 2. A pamphlet allegedly published, and not disavowed by defendant Veteran's Campaign for Life invites people to "Come to the nation's capital this Veteran's Day, November 10th and 11th, for the Veteran's Campaign For Life. . . . On the evening of the 10th, a pro-life rally and training will be held to prepare as many as we can to rescue the unborn on the 11th at a local DC abortuary." The pamphlet further states that this activity is scheduled for the morning of November 11th. There is also in evidence a pamphlet containing a "Schedule of Events," which lists as the activity for November 17th and 18th at 7:30 a.m.: "Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death!" Plaintiffs' Exhibit D at 4 (Attachment A).

 3. In a sworn affidavit, defendant Terry states that he has "participated in aborter blockades in the past." Terry further explains that "while the child-killing facility is blockaded, no one is permitted to enter past the rescuers . . . . Doctors, nurses, patients, staff, abortion-bound women, families of abortion-bound women -- all are prevented from entering the aborter while the rescue is in progress." Terry Aff. at para. 6 (Attachment B).

 4. Defendants' literature publicizing the upcoming protests contains no indication of which premises are to be targeted. Defendants' counsel and pro se defendant Mahoney have not been able to inform the court of any specific plans to blockade a particular premise, but conspicuously fail to traverse the allegations that there are such plans. In the past, defendants have not publicly revealed the premises that will be the target of their blockades. See Dickenson-Collins Suppl. Decl. at para. 2; Savarese Aff. at para. 3;

 5. There is uncontradicted evidence that defendants Operation Rescue and Project Rescue have been the motivating force behind other blockades similar to those presently threatened. In a letter on Operation Rescue letterhead, defendant Terry explains "the growth of this movement":

 
On April 29th, the National Day of Rescue II, rescue groups in 46 cities participated in rescue missions. Also, pro-lifers in another 17 cities did not need to risk arrest because all of the killing centers closed down for fear of the upcoming rescues. In all, 49 babies were confirmed saved with over 5,000 risking arrest; and 3,400 actually arrested.

 Plaintiffs' Exhibit D at 7 (see Attachment A).

 6. Patricia Ireland, the Executive Vice President of plaintiff NOW has attested that between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. on April 29, 1989 hundreds of anti-abortion activists converged on the Metropolitan Family Planning Institute in College Park, Maryland and effectively blocked ingress and egress during the entire time that the clinic was scheduled to be open. Ms. Ireland alleges, without contradiction by defendants, that the "National Day of Rescue" was organized by Operation Rescue and that the "Day of Rescue" in the DC area was organized by Project Rescue and defendant Clifford Gannett. See Ireland Aff. at 1. See also ...


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