On Thursday, NOW, the Feminist Majority Foundation, and Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC held a press conference to demand action on clinic violence. Abortion providers and escorts joined Rep. Donna Edwards, Ellie Smeal, Bonnie Grabenhofer, and others in urging the House Select Investigative Panel focusing on so-called “big abortion providers,” formed in the wake of the highly-doctored anti-abortion videos, to redirect its focus to anti-abortion violence, or to disband. Bonnie’s excellent speech is posted below.
When did the Right to Life become the Right to Terrorize?
Statement by Bonnie Grabenhofer, Vice President, National Organization for Women
January 21, 2016
Tomorrow is the 43rd anniversary of the 1973 Roe v Wade decision legalizing abortion in this country — making it safe for women to control their own bodies.
However, anti-abortion extremists, who disagree with that decision, have made it unsafe for abortion providers.
The anti-choice crowd has lost in the courts and in public opinion so they resort to threats and intimidation – and violence.
Like many NOW members, I’ve spent a lot of time as a clinic escort. The administrator at one of the clinics where I escorted told me about going to work on the weekend to do some paperwork only to find a man with an ax trying to destroy her clinic.
She was so mad that she chased the man with an ax down the street. I have trouble imagining the courage that it took to deal with that violent situation and then return to work at the clinic on Monday.
Can you imagine going to work when your picture and personal information are on a flyer that says “KILLERS AMONG US”? It blatantly encourages violence. Especially when the rhetoric of some anti-abortion extremists essentially tells their followers that murder of abortion doctors is justified.
Four abortion doctors were murdered by anti-choice extremists after being targeted with WANTED-style posters — including Dr. George Tiller who was murdered as recently as 2009.
This terrorism is not a thing of the past, but continues to this day. Threats and intimidation continue to increase in frequency — nearly doubling from 26.6% of clinics in 2010 to 51.9% in 2014! Increased hateful rhetoric, increased threats and increased violence go hand in hand.
After the heavily edited, very deceptive videos about Planned Parenthood surfaced, there were multiple, major incidents of violence at abortion clinics:
- In September, an arson attack caused significant damage to a Planned Parenthood facility in California; and another fire was set at a Planned Parenthood facility in Pullman, Washington.
- An abortion clinic in Kentucky was vandalized twice in November.
- In late November, we saw the shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility with 3 dead and 9 injured. And we heard that the shooter talked about “no more baby parts” when he was arrested – referring to the videos.
We should not tolerate this violence. These are not isolated events and they need to be investigated. Instead of responding to highly edited, misleading videos that have been debunked, and spending tax payers’ dollars investigating “big abortion providers” who are providing legal services, the House Select Investigative Panel should redirect its focus to investigate the very urgent problem of clinic violence by anti-abortion extremists.