Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. American Coalition of Life Activists

290 F.3d 1058 (2002)

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Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. American Coalition of Life Activists

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
290 F.3d 1058 (2002)

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Facts

The American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) (defendant) was found liable by a federal jury for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinics Entrances Act, 18 U.S.C. § 248, (FACE) in an action brought against it by Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc (Planned Parenthood) (plaintiff). FACE provides aggrieved persons a right-of-action against whoever by threat of force intentionally intimidates any individual because that individual is or has been providing reproductive health services. The action was filed in response to ACLA publishing a series of posters, “The Dirty Dozen,” and the “Nuremberg Files” naming and depicting physicians who provided reproductive health services, including abortions. The posters, which captioned the physicians as “guilty,” were the second in a series that started with wanted posters for certain such doctors, many of whom were killed after the posters were released. The trial court used long-standing law on true threats to define a threat under FACE, requiring the jury to find that ACLA made statements to intimidate physicians, reasonably foreseeing that physician would interpret the statements as a serious expression of ACLA’s intent to harm them because they provided reproductive health services. The jury so found, and ACLA appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Rymer, J.)

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