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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

September-25-97

Little Rock, Arkansas Abortion Clinics Subject of Terrorism

Washington D.C. -- On the morning of President Clinton's speech at Little Rock's Central High School, bomb scares were investigated at two local abortion clinics. According to news reports, the suspect rented two Ryder trucks, mimicking the terroristic tactic of the Oklahoma City bombing, and left them parked in front of the clinics. Upon arrival, bomb-sniffing dogs detected what investigators treated as explosive devices. Before finding that both trucks contained only road flares, investigators evacuated both clinics and several surrounding buildings. Additionally, a clinic worker arriving at the third clinic found the door locks tarred, barring entry into the clinic.
Alarmed by the spate of abortion clinic terrorism, increasingly bombs and arsons, Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, demanded this latest terrorist attempt to disrupt clinic operations be treated as a violation of Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE). Smeal stated, "Despite the fact that these bomb scares were false, we strongly believe federal agents should investigate them as FACE violations. This latest terrorist attack disrupted clinic operations and resulted in the evacuation of not only the clinics, but of surrounding businesses as well."

Anti-choice extremists have historically targeted the Little Rock clinics, especially since Clinton, who is pro-choice, became President in 1992. In 1994, these same clinics were targeted when national anti-choice extremists converged on the city to challenge the constitutionality of FACE.

Since the beginning of 1997, seventeen clinics nationwide have suffered arsons or bombings - a number triple that of 1996. Additionally, a survey released earlier this year by the Feminist Majority Foundation, reveals that 27.6% of clinics faced severe anti-abortion violence in 1996, including death threats, stalking, bombings, arsons, blockades, invasions and chemical attacks.


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