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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-23-97

Abortion Clinic Arsons And Bombings Reach Highest Rate Since 1984 Peak

Domestic Terrorism Increases

Washington, DC - Alarmed by a resurgent wave of abortion clinic arsons and bombings across the nation, Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal stated, "Today's arson of the Lovejoy Surgicenter marks the eleventh abortion clinic arson or bombing of 1997 -- the highest rate since 1984. This Portland, Oregon clinic, which sustained massive damage early this morning, was the target of threatening calls this past week which were reported to law enforcement officials. Also, threatening calls were received by the Feminist Women's Health Centers in Portland and Eugene, as well as the Center for Choice in Yakima, Washington. The caller had warned he would strike on Friday, May 23rd. The caller also threatened to kill staff and screamed profanities into the phone."

Smeal continued, "The Lovejoy Surgicenter is a flagship clinic. The clinic has been the target of anti-abortion terrorism since the 1980's. In fact, the Center brought suit against Advocates for Life Ministries, an anti-abortion group promoting justifiable homicide, in 1989. The case, Lovejoy Surgicenter v. Advocates for Life, resulted in the largest punitive damage award against anti-abortion extremists -- $8.1 million dollars."

"We are alarmed at the increasing rate of the use of bombing and arson to close clinics. To date, the eleven arsons and bombings of 1997 have taken place in Tulsa, Oklahoma (two bombings); Atlanta, Georgia (two bombings); Falls Church, Virginia; Bakersfield and North Hollywood, California; Bozeman, Montana; Greensboro, North Carolina; Yakima, Washington; and Portland, Oregon."

"We are fortunate that not all the recent bombings and arsons caused major damage, and we did not lose all nine clinics. However, we have lost clinics in Greensboro, North Carolina and now massive damage to the Lovejoy Surgicenter, and at the Atlanta abortion clinic bombings (January 1997) a second bomb injured several people, including ATF and FBI agents. To date, there has been no arrest in the Greensboro or Atlanta bombings, even though the Army of God extremist group claimed responsibility for the Atlanta bombings.

[Reporters Note: The Feminist Majority Foundation runs the oldest and one of the largest clinic defense projects in the nation. Its National Clinic Defense Project leads efforts to keep women's health clinics open in the face of violence and harassment by anti-abortion extremists. Its 1996 Annual Clinic Violence Survey showed that bombings and arsons were increasing. The Survey, the most comprehensive study of abortion clinic violence to date, is available by calling the offices of the Feminist Majority Foundation at 703-522-2214.]

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