Feeds

Judge rules in favour of Nuremberg Files Web site

Listing personal details of abortion doctors is legal

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A Federal judge has ruled that the controversial "Nuremburg Files" US Web site, which lists the names and personal details of doctors in the States that carry out abortion, is legal and can be published on the Internet.

The ruling was sparked by a court case in 1999 in which several doctors won damages of $107 million against the American Coalition of Life Activists, the Advocates for Life Ministries and a number of individuals who had posted "wanted" pics of the doctors on the Internet.

The site itself is a very nasty piece of work. Describing doctors as "baby butchers" and of committing "crimes against humanity", it asks for and publishes any information it can garner on those that offer abortions and that includes names (of them and their kids), addresses and licence plate numbers. The forthright and threatening stance taking by anti-abortionists has been expounded though by the murders of seven doctors and a further 17 attempted murders on doctors named on Web sites.

Within hours of the death of one doctor, Dr Barnett Slepian, his name on the Web site had a line put through it. Other doctors have resorted to wearing disguises, wearing bullet-proof jackets, fortifying their houses, educating their kids on what to do if they hear gunfire and varying their route to work.

The anti-abortionists logic is explained on the site under the heading "why this must be done". It says: "One of the great tragedies of the Nuremberg trials of Nazis after WWII was that complete information and documented evidence had not been collected so many war criminals went free or were only found guilty of minor crimes. We do not want the same thing to happen when the day comes to charge abortionists with their crimes. We anticipate the day when these people will be charged in PERFECTLY LEGAL COURTS once the tide of this nation's opinion turns against the wanton slaughter of God's children (as it surely will)."

Of course, when you combine religion with law with freedom of speech and you have one almighty American row.

Comparing doctors that legally perform abortions on willing women to Nazi war criminals is plainly ridiculous but from a fundamentalist Christian perspective it's the same. How this allows for the deliberate targeting of those individuals is a case of more rhetoric. You either trust in the jurisdiction of the courts and the law of the land or you don't - it's not a pick n' mix. Therefore you should break from society (and end up in jail) or attempt to change the law within the law.

And the law has given the anti-abortionists support on this issue. They are entitled to publish the material due to freedom of speech. The judge made the point that violence has frequently been a part of political protest in American history. "In more modern times, the labour, anti-war, animal rights and environmental movements have all had their violent fringes," said Judge Alex Kozinski. "As a result, much of what was said by non-violent participants acquired a tinge of menace. If their statements [the Web sites] merely encouraged unrelated terrorists then their words are protected by the first amendment."

The US legal situation is very different to one on this side of the Atlantic but you have to ask whether putting personal details next to such strongly worded comments when the effect is known to have led to deaths should be protected. In the UK there is such a thing an incitement to cause violence/racism etc.

Should freedom of speech extend to the restriction of others' lives? Should it mean libel without comeback? Should it override the legal system? Very tough questions. The other question is: will more be lost than gained by making freedom of speech more responsible? In this case, a federal judge says yes. ®

Related Link

The site, if you wish to view it is here

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.