“Federal Judge Orders Anti-Abortion Extremist to Remove Threats to Clinic Staff from Website”

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From Law.com:

A federal judge ordered an anti-abortion activist to remove Web site postings that authorities said exhorted readers to kill an abortion provider by shooting her in the head.

District Court Thomas Golden granted an injunction Nov. 8 seeking the removal of postings on Web pages maintained by John Dunkle. The injunction, sought by prosecutors in August, also bans him from publishing similar messages containing names, addresses or photographs of health clinic staff members.

Prosecutors said one posting targeted a former clinician for the Philadelphia Women’s Center, and that she later stopped providing reproductive health services because she feared for her life.

Dunkle, of Reading, Pa., said Nov. 8 that the postings had been removed.

“They’re down now,” said Dunkle, who represented himself. “I won’t put up language that (the judge) has told me not to put up.”

Authorities said the postings violate the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

One posting, which featured the provider’s name, photo and address, stated that “while it does not sound good to say go shoot her between the eyes, it sounds even worse to say let her alone.”

Dunkle has said he did not write the message on the blog, but that he did post it.

A more detailed account of Dunkle’s activities is reported here:

… The federal government successfully argued that the postings violated the Freedom of Access to Clinics Act, largely because they prompted a former clinician for the Philadelphia Women’s Center, the government’s key witness, to quit her job out of fear for her life.

One posting listed her name, photo and address and stated that ”while it does not sound good to say go shoot her between the eyes, it sounds worse to say let her alone,” according to court records.

In a phone interview Friday, Dunkle, who defended himself in court, said he expected the ruling and added that he has already removed the postings.

Though Boulanger was not singled out in the Web postings at the center of the case, the government presented her as a victim in the case and she testified that she felt threatened by Dunkle’s ”bizarre” behavior as he escalated his campaign against her and the clinic.

Boulanger said she first encountered Dunkle in October 2006 outside the clinic, where he would stand six hours a day, sing limericks and demand to speak to her.

A month later, Boulanger said, Dunkle began showing up outside her Quakertown home equipped with a sign that read ”Jennifer hires baby killers.”

”This was not protesting. It was harassment,” she said in an interview Friday. ”But no matter what he does, I am not stopping. I am proud of what I do and the women I help.”

Dunkle also sent letters to Boulanger’s neighbors informing them about her job and asking for their support to ”end it,” Boulanger said. In addition, Dunkle sent letters to clinic staff asking them to contribute names, photos and addresses for a book he was hoping to release.

Dunkle does not deny doing these things.

In fact, he says he will continue to picket in front of Boulanger’s house and the clinic, but he says the court order forces him to be more careful about the wording of his signs and Web log.

”I just have to be careful,” Dunkle said.

I’ll add a link to the injunction itself when I find one.

–Ann Bartow

This entry was posted in Acts of Violence, Feminism and Law, Feminism and Technology, Women's Health. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to “Federal Judge Orders Anti-Abortion Extremist to Remove Threats to Clinic Staff from Website”

  1. Before entering teaching, I represented Boulanger and her clinic in various matters, some relating to protester problems, as well as another abortion provider harassed by Dunkle.

    Dunkle is dangerous not because he himself is violent (yet) but rather because he is in league with others who are. He corresponds regularly with people who are in prison because of violent acts against clinics and providers. And, he writes a newsletter for them and their supporters. Those people are dangerous, and Dunkle’s egging them on is scary.

    Of course, though not himself violent (again, yet), he is a perpetual harasser who contributes to the non-stop campaign of ruthless intimidation that clinic workers have to put up with everyday. It’s amazing what these workers do to provide services to women. They should be constantly honored.