After positive outcomes for women’s rights in the 2010 elections, the fight for women’s reproductive rights continues in North Carolina courts.
Pro-life extremist, Flip Benham, faces trial for posting “Wanted” posters that potentially violate the state’s residential picketing laws. These posters have been dispersed throughout North Carolina neighborhoods and feature faces of doctors who perform abortion surgeries along with text that demands negative action towards them. This long overdue trial for the man behind on-going anti-abortion related violence and recent anti-Islam violence, seems to be a large stride in the right direction for pro-choice advocates.
A positive stride indeed, but the struggle for criminal charges in this scenario may be a long battle. Benham claims that he has the right to conduct such activity under the guarantees of the first amendment are difficult to challenge in court under legal doctrine. However, precedence does promise some light at the end of the tunnel. According to NPR, a similar 2002 federal court case decision deemed such anti-abortion activity as illegal because it utilizes “threat of force” in its actions. Another major indicator of the battle ahead is the fact that this trial only violates state and city laws that can at most charge Bentham a few months in jail.
Pro-choice groups vow to take this case to higher courts for criminal charges and hope that pro-abortion doctors receive the justice they deserve. Stay tuned for updates on the trial outcomes and listen to Feminist Majority Foundation’s Kathy Spillar on air with NPR!