In a letter to his followers, Andrew Burnett, director of Advocates for Life Ministries, announced that AFLM and its publishing Life Advocate magazine was closing as of December 31, 1999. Burnett, publisher of Life Advocate, pointed to the lack of financial support from his followers as the primary cause for the group's failure.
"The decision to close AFLM is a major victory for pro-choice groups working to reduce anti-abortion violence. For 15 years Andrew Burnett has been terrorizing abortion providers. Let's hope AFLM's closing its doors is not just a way to escape a legal judgement and does not mean the opening of the doors of yet another group to terrorize women's health clinics," reflects Eleanor Smeal, president, Feminist Majority Foundation.
Burnett cited the lawsuit brought against AFLM by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as a factor in the group's demise. In 1995, two clinics and four doctors sued Burnett and 14 other individuals for threatening doctors. In February 1999 a jury found the defendants liable for threats under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The jury awarded the plaintiffs $107.5 million.
In 1993 and 1994, Burnett signed petitions calling for justifiable homicide of abortion providers. Life Advocate magazine frequently discussed the theory of justifiable homicide. Also, Advocates for Life Publications published A Time to Kill, by convicted bomber Michael Bray, which provides a so-called theological basis for justifiable homicide for abortion providers.
Media Resources: Letter from Andrew Burnett to followers, 11/99 and Feminist Majority Foundation