The Supreme Court’s unanimous 8-0 decision this week rejecting claims by the National Organization for Women that demonstrations at abortion clinics are extortion and therefore punishable under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act was an important vote for freedom and free speech.
Those who might be doing a double take and wondering how a law – whose intent was to deal with mobsters using threats and violence to extort funds from legitimate businesses – can be relevant to protesters in front of abortions clinics intuitively get the point.
The fact that the opinion rejecting the claim that activism at abortion clinics has anything to do with racketeering and extortion was written by pro-choice Judge Stephen Breyer shows that this case was not about abortion, but about the appropriate application of law. I am mystified how a suit of so little merit can cause as much disruption as this one has and indeed can make its way to the highest court in the land.
Although simple logic finally prevailed, this case languished for 20 years, and over this time was a source of intimidation to those who wanted to express their first amendment rights in expressing opposition to the operation of abortion clinics.
Even G. Robert Blakely, the author of the RICO, took the position that the act, which focused on profits earned from criminal activity, had nothing to do with the claims NOW made. Yet the suit refused to die.
If one applied the simplest logic to the misapplication of law here, the obvious truth emerges. Without ongoing businesses, what would there be to extort? Criminals are parasites and it is in the interest of parasites that the creatures off which they live remain viable.
Those protesting in front of abortion clinics want to them to close. Their object is to produce inviability and termination.
The common ground between the two? Zero.
Consider the implications had the National Organization for Women prevailed in this lawsuit. Disruptive, but non-violent protest – which always has played an important role in our free society – would have been placed under ongoing threat of RICO.
Dr. Martin Luther King, under this sense of things, could well have been considered a racketeer.
This is the world that the National Organization for Women was perfectly comfortable trying to bring to us and I believe speaks legions of what motivates these folks.
The world of the pro-abortionists is a world absent of truth. Egotism, what I perceive to be good for me, is the standard to which everything else must submit. In this world law becomes a tool to manipulate for personal interest rather than a platform for justice.
This also is a world that exists for the convenience of the elites and in which the poor are its victims. Putting aside for a moment the central issue of sanctity of life, let’s consider simply the issue of so-called choice.
For the liberal educated elite, mistakes are merely an inconvenience. An unwanted pregnancy here or there is not going to change a path that will lead to marriage, family, and a stable middle-class existence.
The lives of the poor are far less forgiving. Wrong choices and bad decisions set the vector of one’s life on a course that probably will never be turned around. The sandbox the liberal elite want to play in is quicksand for the poor.
It’s not an accident the main customers of the abortion clinics that NOW finds so important to operate are poor black women. The cultural reality that NOW chooses to sustain makes the hope of redemption of a poor, black community increasingly remote.
Despite the world toward which NOW aspires, fortunately there are good Americans who appreciate that without the integrity of law, there is no freedom. And without right and wrong, there is no life.
The abortion activist defendants in Scheidler v. NOW were not racketeers. Nor was Dr. King. They are idealists non-violently expressing truths in a free society that we all should know and hear.