Cross posted from Hot Flash Report
Early on January 29, 1998 a bomb went off at New Woman All Women abortion clinic in Birmingham Alabama. The security guard, off duty police officer Robert "Sandy" Sanders, was blown to pieces and the clinic nurse, Emily Lyons, was gravely injured. The bomb was detonated from about a block away by Eric Rudolph who is currently serving 2 life sentences in jail for this bombing and has confessed to the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Park bombing and the bombings of an abortion clinic and gay nightclub in Atlanta.
I went to Birmingham 2 days after the bombing to support the owner, my friend Diane Derzis. I took these chilling pictures. Homegrown terrorism had come home to roost.
Now, that a pro-choice Democrat is poised to become the next President, I and others in the pro-choice movement fear that the violent anti-abortion attacks of the 90's will be rekindled.
After a 5 year manhunt in the North Carolina mountains Eric Rudolph said:
Rudolph issued a rambling 11-page statement Wednesday after pleading guilty in Alabama and Georgia, declaring: "Abortion is murder. And when the regime in Washington legalized, sanctioned and legitimized this practice, they forfeited their legitimacy and moral authority to govern."The regime he's talking about was the pro-choice Clinton administration.
The bomb was meant to go off for maximum damage when the waiting room was filled with patients and their families, but he set it off early when the security guard got suspicious and bent over the bomb hidden in a planter.
We're already seeing signs of the desperation of the anti-abortion movement. They're desperate that even with the support of an anti-abortion President and Administration, abortion is still legal in this country. They've successfully chipped away at abortion rights through TRAP laws and other pesky nuisance measures, but women in American can still get an abortion...if they have the money and can travel.
And, there were 2 abortion clinic bombing incidents in Texas and New Mexico at the end of last year. Bet you didn't hear about those in the traditional media, did you? I've also heard from friends around the country that the anti-abortion rhetoric and harassment is increasing. Clinics fear that the end of the Bush era and the real possibility of a pro-choice President is fueling the threat of increased anti-abortion terrorism.
Any of the Democrats running are OK with me, because they have all pledged to uphold Roe v. Wade...and most importantly ALL would appoint an appropriate jurist to the Supreme Court. But, I'm also interested in who the Attorney General would be. Janet Reno fully prosecuted under the FACE Laws, but Ashcroft and Gonzales have been less than stellar in responding to anti-abortion harassment at clinics.
There are signs that someone in the current AG's office is being more aggressive. Last week, Roy McMillan, the permanent professional protester at the lone abortion clinic in Jackson Mississippi was served with a Federal complaint for violating a consent decree whereby he is prohibited from coming within 25 feet of the Jackson Women's Health Organization and prohibited from threatening the clinic staff.
According to the Jackson Clarion Ledger:
The U.S. Department of Justice is asking a judge to order McMillan to show cause why he shouldn't be held in contempt for threats against Dr. Joseph Booker Jr. of the Jackson Women's Health Organization on North State Street, Mississippi's only abortion clinic. The filing comes more than a decade after McMillan signed a consent decree promising to stay a certain distance from the clinic and to not threaten or intimidate clinic workers.Looks like Roy McMillan is taking a page from the Bush administration's continuing refusal to follow the law. How come right-wingers are willing to defy any law they wish for years and they protect each other? Only when the Bush administration's Justice Department was presented with overwhelming photographic evidence of Roy McMillan's lawbreaking were they willing to take action. They dragged their feet for 10 years. That's how they've dealt with everything. If it's a right-winger breaking the law, they don't act until there's irrefutable evidence, if they act at all.
McMillan is aware of the consent decree requirements but repeatedly has violated them, Justice Department attorney Julie Abbate says in the complaint. Furthermore, the complaint says, McMillan's conduct demonstrates "disregard for the court's authority and requires court intervention to ensure the safety of JWHO employees and patients."
In the process of dragging their feet for the past 10 years, clinics and clinic workers have been put in jeopardy of their lives. Abortion clinics are places where people have been killed before. Roy McMillan defying a Federal court order for 10 years hasn't seemed to bother them until recently.
But, what's going to happen with a pro-choice President? In the previous Clinton era, Federal Marshals were dispatched to clinics to ensure womens' safety. That came to a drastic halt when Bush took over. Now that the threats seem to be back and real, the same doctors, patients, and staffs are sitting exposed to the same levels of anti-abortion domestic terrorism that were evident during the mid-90's.
We're going to be target practice again unless this administration continues to protect women getting abortions and people working in clinics. And all the Presidential candidates need to pledge to follow the law as aggressively against actual domestic terrorism as they seem to want to follow against the shady threats of international terrorism.