IFAS | Freedom Writer | Summer 2000 | violence.html

Clinic violence continues

On May 29th, a fire of suspicious origin was quickly brought under control at the Concord Feminist Health Center in Concord, New Hampshire. The center is picketed regularly by anti-choice people. While no one was injured and the damage was relatively minor, it is a reminder that the violent battle for women's rights continues. In fact, according to Anti-Abortion Violence Watch, a publication of the Feminist Majority Foundation's National Clinic Access Project, since 1997 there have been 27 arsons or bombings of clinics in nine states. To date, 17 of these incidents remain unsolved. Furthermore, five doctors have been shot on or about the time of the Canadian holiday called Remembrance Day, celebrated on November 11th. One doctor, Dr. Barnett Slepian of Buffalo, New York, was shot through his kitchen window by a sniper hiding in the woods behind his home.

Two antiabortion activists are listed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. Rewards of up to a million dollars are being offered for the capture of either of them. James A. Kopp is wanted in connection with the murder of Dr. Slepian. Eric Rudolph is wanted as a suspect in fatal bombings at a Birmingham clinic and at the Olympics in Atlanta, as well as the bombing of a gay nightclub.

In addition to the incidents mentioned above, last year 30 facilities were evacuated after receiving hoax letters concerning the deadly anthrax virus. This year, clinics in 21 states have received similar letters.

In 1999, two men, Randall Hanson and Martin J. Uphoff, both of the Dakotas, were convicted for arson attacks on two clinics. In January of this year, John Kelly of Gainesville, Florida, was convicted of sending threatening email messages to clinics. Compared to the amount of ongoing terrorism and criminal activity, the arrest rate remains frightfully low.

© 2000 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.