WASHINGTON – Abortion-rights supporters in Maryland had little time last week to celebrate a $107 million Oregon verdict against an anti-abortion web site that has now turned its focus on doctors here.
“The Nuremberg Files,” the Internet site at the center of the Oregon free-speech lawsuit, added a new feature Monday targeting over two-dozen Maryland abortion providers.
The site lists Maryland doctors it says performs abortions and allows visitors to get detailed information about them — including their phone numbers, addresses and spouses’ names.
Maryland is the first state to go up on the Nuremberg Files. But the site promises that Maryland is just a test-run for a program that will eventually let visitors find and provide detailed information on abortion providers in their own states.
“The whole fact of there being a site like that makes me afraid,” said one Maryland doctor, who said he does not actually perform abortions but was listed on the site anyway.
“You can’t yell fire in a crowded theater,” he said of the free speech claims made by the site’s supporters.
Plaintiffs in the Oregon suit said abortion foes crossed from free speech into “domestic terrorism” with rhetoric that endorsed killing abortion providers and by crossing out names of doctors on the Nuremberg Files list who were murdered.
The site’s theme is that doctors who perform abortions are criminals who must someday be brought to justice — just as Nazi war criminals were brought to justice at the Nuremberg trials after World War II.
Ostensibly, the site aims to amass detailed files on the doctors that could be used against them at such a trial. The new page shows a courtroom scene and urges visitors to imagine its database full of Maryland doctors on trial.
The Maryland page is framed in dripping blood, a motif that runs throughout the site. One Maryland doctor on the list, who asked not to be named, said that “all physicians on that list live in fear.”
The Nuremberg Files was not originally included in the Oregon lawsuit, but it quickly grabbed headlines after it was added.
The site’s producer, who lives in Georgia, was never added to the suit as a defendant. The Oregon court has not ordered the site shut down, although abortion-rights groups have asked for an injunction against the site.
Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti, president of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, said she is “hopeful that the judge will issue an injunction against the website.”
Geidner-Antoniotti expressed concern about the growing number of doctors on the list as well as increasingly more personal information about them, their families and their communities.
Several Maryland doctors whose names, numbers and addresses are posted on the site said they do not perform abortions or that the procedure is only a small part of their practice.
One doctor listed on the site said it crossed the line when doctors on the list started getting hurt and those killed by anti-abortion radicals were crossed off the list.
“It would be equally wrong to put up a site with those preachers’ names and numbers and target them,” he said.