Neal Horsley, the anti-abortion activist whose “Nuremberg Files” website was at the center of an Oregon free-speech lawsuit that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, has died at the age of 70.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization, reported Horsley’s death May 12. According to the report, Horsley died April 13 in Carrollton, Georgia.
A Slate.com article posted Thursday said Horsley came up with the idea of online stalking of abortion providers. “His tactics, still in effect today, continue to threaten abortion providers across the country,” the article said.
Horsley’s website listed about 200 U.S. abortion providers along with photographs, physical descriptions and personal information such as phone numbers, home addresses, car license numbers and family members’ names. Among those included on the website was Dr. Gary Prohaska, a former president of Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette and onetime medical director of the Lovejoy SurgiCenter, a 44-year-old abortion clinic in Northwest Portland.
In a 1990 opinion piece published in The Oregonian, Prohaska spoke out against a ballot measure that would have banned most abortions in the state.
In 1995, Planned Parenthood, several physicians and other abortion providers sued the American Coalition of Life Activists and other abortion opponents in U.S. District Court in Portland, saying the First Amendment did not protect the website. A jury delivered a $109 million verdict in favor of the plaintiffs; when the case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices declined the appeal and let the verdict stand.
— Amy Wang