Nuremberg Files site shutdown spurs lawsuit from abortion foe

Monday, June 14, 1999

Editor’s note: Earlier reports of a judgment of $107 million against anti-abortion activists were later corrected to $109 million. That change has been made in this and other stories.

A Georgia Internet service provider is facing a
$250 million dollar lawsuit by the creator of a
controversial anti-abortion Web site.

Neal Horsley, Webmaster of the Nuremberg Files
anti-abortion site, alleges that the closing of
his Web site by Mindspring
Enterprises, and the deletion of electronic
mail related to the site, “was done as an evil act
to intentionally injure, deter, and damage the
plaintiff in his Christian anti-abortion

A spokesman for Mindspring, Ed Hansen, told
C|Net’ that
while they hadn’t seen the complaint, which was
filed in a state court in Gwinnett County,
Ga., the site was taken down because it
violated Mindspring’s written customer agreements.

Mindspring’s appropriate-use policy, to which
customers must agree as part of the sign-up
process for the service, says: “Threats of bodily
harm or destruction of property are always

Those who support a woman’s right to abortion
called Horsley’s Nuremberg Files site a hit list
that targeted doctors who perform abortions. In
February, a federal judge in Oregon issued a
permanent injunction forbidding Horsley and his
supporters from using the Web site to put up
“wanted posters” — listings of names and
personal information of more than 200 abortion

Planned Parenthood said the pictures and
information inspired violence against the doctors.
Horsley would strike through the name of any
abortion doctor who was killed. The Oregon judge’s
order followed a federal jury fine of $109 million
against the American Coalition of Life Activists
and Advocates for Life Ministries for
“threatening” abortion protesters.

Horsley says he is filing his suit against
Mindspring because he is concerned about private
companies censoring controversial speech. He
said Mindspring “usurped the role of government
and prevented me from having access to public
services when I have broken no law and no one has
charged me with breaking a law.”

During an
in March at the First Amendment Center in
Nashville, Tenn., Horsley said that he believes
suppressing sites such as his will only serve to
further inflame anti-abortion supporters, and lead
to more violence.

“Now here is the reality: Now that I’ve been
silenced, the possibility of violence is greater,
because those who are enraged by this process will
see silencing me as further evidence that the only
way they can express themselves is through
violence,” he said.

Mindspring shut down the Nuremberg Files site
after the Oregon ruling.