Anti-Abortion "Wanted" Poster Wingnut Faces Trial
Anti-abortion activist Flip Benham, who distributed "wanted" posters targeting abortion providers in North Carolina, is going to court today to face charges of stalking and violating a new state law against residential picketing.
Benham and his group, Operation Save America, have distributed "wanted" posters that feature the names, addresses and photos of four Charlotte-area abortion providers. The anti-abortion extremists say it's their First Amendment right to create and distribute the posters, but abortions rights activists are appropriately horrified. As Rachel Maddow reported last month, similar posters were distributed for four abortion providers in the weeks and months leading up to those doctors' assassinations. In other words, the posters effectively put a bounty on abortion providers' heads.
Benham and Operation Save America took the posters to the doctors' offices and placed them on doors and car windshields; the latter violated North Carolina's new law against targeting individuals at home. Although Benham faces only a few months of jail time, abortion-rights groups are pushing for federal criminal and civil charges that would carry much stiffer penalties.
Kathy Spillar of the Feminist Majority Foundation:
This is not free speech. This is the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. These wanted posters are communicating a threat to these abortion providers, and essentially they become targets of anti-abortion extremists willing to kill.
Read or listen to the whole story at NPR News.