Decision Date06 December 1989
Docket NumberCiv. A. No. 89-1558-A.
Citation726 F. Supp. 1483
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Virginia
PartiesNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN, et al., Plaintiffs, v. OPERATION RESCUE, et al., Defendants.


Pamela S. Passman, John H. Schafer, Covington & Burling, Alison Wetherfield, NOW Legal Defense & Educ. Fund, Washington, D.C., for plaintiffs.

Douglas Davis, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, Washington, D.C., for defendants.


ELLIS, District Judge.

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiffs' Application for a Permanent Injunction to enjoin defendants, inter alia, from trespassing on, sitting in, blocking, impeding or obstructing ingress into or egress from, any facility in the Washington Metropolitan area that offers and provides legal abortion services and related medical and psychological counselling.

The Court sets forth here its findings of fact and conclusions of law, pursuant to Rule 52(a), Fed.R.Civ.P.

Proceedings to Date

1. This cause first came before the Court on November 8, 1989 on plaintiffs' motion for a Temporary Restraining Order ("TRO") enjoining defendants from, inter alia, physically impeding access to, and egress from, premises that offer and provide legal abortion services and related medical and psychological counselling. Plaintiffs moved for an expedited hearing on this matter. The Court heard oral argument on the TRO on November 8 and 9, 1989. Plaintiffs appeared by counsel. Defendants, having received actual notice of the proceeding, as well as copies of plaintiffs' pleadings, also appeared by counsel. Defendants' counsel accepted service of plaintiffs' complaint and related papers. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Court, having made the requisite findings, issued the TRO.

2. Following the entry of the TRO, the Court, with the parties' consent, and pursuant to Rule 65(a)(2), Fed.R.Civ.P., ordered the trial of the action on the merits to be advanced and consolidated with the hearing on the application for a preliminary injunction. The consolidated and expedited merits trial was set for November 16, 1989.

3. As scheduled, the merits trial of this action commenced on November 16, 1989, lasted two (2) days and ended on November 20, 1989.1 Plaintiffs presented oral testimony from nine (9) witnesses and introduced documentary evidence. Plaintiffs' witnesses were:

Nancy Dickinson-Collins, registered nurse and Director of the Commonwealth Women's Clinic, Falls Church, Virginia;

Dr. Eugene W. Williams, Jr., obstetrician/gynecologist and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington ("PPMW"), Washington, D.C.;

Patricia Ireland, Vice President of the National Organization of Women ("NOW") and Director of NOW's Project Stand Up for Women.

Lieutenant Gregory D. King, Police Officer, City of Falls Church and Commander of Uniform Patrol, Falls Church, Virginia;

Kirsten Johnson, General Project Staff, NOW, Washington, D.C.;

John Alan Bates, Jr., Volunteer, NOW, Washington, D.C. and Employee, Buyers Up/Public Citizen Consumer Group, Washington, D.C.;

Barbara Lofton, Ph.D., Clinical Administrator for Hillview Women's Surgical Center, Forestville, Maryland;

Jessica Sutin, Administrative Manager, PPMW, Washington, D.C.; and

Allen Turnbull, retired citizen and resident of Bowie, Maryland.

Admitted as record evidence in this case were Plaintiffs' Exhibits # 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, and 18.

4. Defendants elected to present no evidence.

5. At the conclusion of the trial, the Court stated its findings and conclusions from the bench and granted the request for a permanent injunction. These written findings of fact and conclusions of law supplement those issued from the bench.


6. Plaintiffs are nine (9) clinics ("clinic plaintiffs") that, inter alia, provide abortions or abortion counselling and five (5) organizations ("organizational plaintiffs") that, inter alia, seek to establish and preserve women's right to obtain abortions.

7. Organizational plaintiffs, National Organization for Women, 51st State National Organization for Women, Maryland National Organization for Women, Virginia National Organization for Women and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Inc. are membership organizations. They sue on behalf of themselves and their members, who include women who may wish to use abortion and family planning clinics in the Eastern District of Virginia and elsewhere.

8. The Court dismissed the National Abortion Federation as a plaintiff in this action. Counsel for plaintiffs offered no evidence identifying this entity or establishing any cause of action it might have.

9. Clinic plaintiffs provide abortions services and related medical and psychological counselling to residents of the Washington Metropolitan area2 and elsewhere. They are:

District of Columbia Clinics

Capitol Women's Clinic, Inc., 1339 22nd Street, N.W.

— Hillcrest Women's Surgi-Center, 7603 Georgia Avenue, N.W.

Maryland Clinics

— Metropolitan Family Planning Institute, 5915 Greenbelt Road, College Park

Virginia Clinics
Alexandria Women's Health Center, 101 South Whiting Street, Alexandria
Commonwealth Women's Clinic, 916 West Broad Street, Falls Church
Gynecare Associates, 312 South Washington Street, Alexandria

Metro Medical Center, Inc., d/b/a Annandale Women's Center, 2871 Duke Street, Alexandria

— NOVA Women's Medical Center, 9900 Main Street, Suite 305, Fairfax
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Inc., 5622 Columbia Pike, Suite 303, Falls Church
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., Inc., 10875 Main Street, Suite 208, Fairfax
— Prince William Women's Clinic, 9384-C Forestwood Lane, Manassas

10. Defendants include one (1) organization and six (6) individuals opposed to abortion and its legalization.

11. Defendant Operation Rescue is an unincorporated association whose members oppose abortion and its legalization. Its principal goals are to stop abortion and to end its legalization. Among the activities it pursues to achieve these goals are demonstrations it terms "rescues." In general, a "rescue" is a demonstration at the site of a clinic where abortions are performed. At a "rescue," the demonstrators, called "rescuers," intentionally trespass on the clinic's premises for the purpose of blockading the clinic's entrances and exits, thereby effectively closing the clinic. In so doing, "rescuers" view their blockading efforts as "rescues" of fetuses scheduled for abortion.

12. Project Rescue, The D.C. Project and The Veterans Campaign for Life were named as defendants in the amended complaint. But as reflected in the evidence, and confirmed by plaintiffs' counsel, none is a legal entity capable of being sued; rather they are names of events organized and coordinated by Operation Rescue for the purpose of conducting "rescues" at abortion facilities in the Washington Metropolitan area. Because Project Rescue, The D.C. Project and The Veterans Campaign for Life are not legal entities, they are deleted as defendants.

13. The individual defendants are persons who are opposed to abortion and its legalization and who are deeply committed to taking active steps to advance their views, including planning, organizing and participating in "rescue" demonstrations under the banner and auspices of Operation Rescue. The individual defendants are:

Randall Terry, National Director and Founder of Operation Rescue. Terry is currently incarcerated in the Fulton County Correctional Facility, Fulton County, Georgia. The record reflects that Terry has played, and continues to play, a leading role in organizing and coordinating "rescues" and disruptions of abortion and family planning facilities in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Patrick Mahoney, retained Consultant to Operation Rescue. Mahoney organizes and coordinates "rescues" and related activities in the Washington Metropolitan area for Operation Rescue. Mahoney was present at, and participated in, "rescues" organized and performed by Operation Rescue on November 17 and 18, 1989 in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Clifford Gannett, Director of Project Rescue. Gannett organizes and coordinates "rescues" and related activities in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Michael McMonagle organizes and coordinates "rescues" and related activities for Operation Rescue in the Washington Metropolitan area.

Michael Bray and Jayne Bray organize and coordinate "rescues" and related activities for Operation Rescue in the Washington Metropolitan area. Jayne Bray was arrested by Lieutenant Gregory D. King of the Falls Church, Virginia Police Department for her activities at a "rescue" demonstration at the Commonwealth Women's Clinic in Falls Church, Virginia on October 29, 1988.


14. It is indisputable that all defendants share a deep commitment to the goals of stopping the practice of abortion and reversing its legalization. To achieve these goals, it appears from the record that the individual defendants have agreed and combined with one another and with defendant Operation Rescue to organize, coordinate and participate in "rescue" demonstrations at abortion clinics in various parts of the country, including the Washington Metropolitan area. The purpose of these "rescue" demonstrations is to disrupt operations at the target clinic and indeed ultimately to cause the clinic to cease operations entirely. No one has put this point any better than defendant Terry, who in an affidavit, states that "while the child-killing facility is blockaded, no one is permitted to enter past the rescuers ... Doctors, nurses, patients, staff, abortion-bound women, families of abortion-bound women — all are prevented from entering the abortuary while the rescue is in progress." Operation Rescue's literature defines "rescues" as "physically...

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27 cases
  • Volunteer Medical Clinic, Inc. v. Operation Rescue
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • October 29, 1991
    ...encroachment. See, e.g., New York State Nat'l Org. for Women v. Terry, 886 F.2d 1339, 1360-61 (2d Cir.1989); NOW v. Operation Rescue, 726 F.Supp. 1483, 1493 (E.D.Va.1989), aff'd, 914 F.2d 582, 584 (4th Cir.1990), cert. granted sub nom. Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, --- U.S. ----......
  • Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic
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    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • January 13, 1993
    ...clinics in specified Virginia counties and cities in the Washington, D. C., metropolitan area. National Organization for Women v. Operation Rescue, 726 F. Supp. 1483 (ED Va. 1989). Based on its § 1985(3) ruling and pursuant to 42 U. S. C. § 1988 , the court also ordered petitioners to pa......
  • U.S. v. Wilson, 95-1871
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit
    • February 21, 1996
    ...out of State and over half of the patients at one of the Maryland clinics were interstate travelers."); National Org. for Women v. Operation Rescue, 726 F.Supp. 1483, 1489 (E.D.Va.1989) ("[S]ubstantial numbers of [abortion] clinics in the Washington Metropolitan area travel interstate to re......
  • Pro-Choice Network v. Project Rescue, Civ. 90-1004A.
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    • U.S. District Court — Western District of New York
    • February 14, 1992
    ...2 The Court notes that a case involving similar issues is pending before the United States Supreme Court. NOW v. Operation Rescue, 726 F.Supp. 1483 (E.D.Va.1989), aff'd, 914 F.2d 582 (4th Cir.1990), cert. granted, sub nom., Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Center, ___ U.S. ___, 111 S.Ct. 1......
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1 books & journal articles
  • "face"-ing Rico: a Remedy for Antiabortion Violence?
    • United States
    • Seattle University School of Law Seattle University Law Review No. 18-02, December 1994
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    ...99 WAYS TO STOP ABORTION (1985) (manual advocating unlawful methods of abortion clinic interference). 38. NOW v. Operation Rescue, 726 F. Supp. 1483, 1488 (E.D. Va. 1989), ajffd, 914 F.2d 582 (4th Cir. 1990), rev'd in part on other grounds, vacated in part, Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health......

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