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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-12-01

ATTORNEY GENERAL ASHCROFT URGED TO CONDEMN ANTI-ABORTION TERRORISM

WASHINGTON, DC—Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal joins Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Gloria Feldt and National Abortion Federation Executive Director Vicki Saporta in urging Attorney General John Ashcroft to be proactive and take action publicly against all anti-abortion terrorist threats.

“With Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue) kicking off their ‘Let’s Finish It’ campaign in Wichita, KS this coming weekend, and outspoken anti-abortion terrorist Clayton Lee Waagner on the loose, heavily armed and threatening the lives of clinic staff across the country, time is of the essence,” said Smeal.

Tiller has been the target of anti-abortion protests for the past decade, and in 1993 was shot 5 times by anti-abortion extremist Shelley Shannon. Working with the Wichita Choice Alliance and Dr. Tiller's Women's Health Care Services clinic, the Feminist Majority Foundation staff for the past four weeks has been recruiting and training volunteers in Wichita for clinic defense efforts and providing logistical and organizing expertise.

“For many women throughout the country and the world Dr. Tiller has provided critically needed services for very troubled pregnancies. And for many of these desperate women, Dr. Tiller is the only doctor who will provide abortions for very ill women and women with severe fetal abnormalities. Our clinic organizers are receiving a very positive and enthusiastic response from the community,” added Smeal.

“Twenty percent of our nation’s clinics are experiencing severe clinic violence. Recently, there has been a qualitative increase in the intensity of threats against doctors, clinic staff and now even patients. Patients’, their families’, and friends’ pictures and personal information are appearing on threatening extremist websites which are being updated daily,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

Clinics from across the country are reporting to us an increase in the intensity of threats and are extremely concerned that fugitive Waagner has still not been captured. “Specific threats are being received by clinics and pro-choice organizations, and fugitive Clayton Lee Waagner is on the loose threatening abortion providers and the general public on an Army of God Website. Anti-abortion terrorists appear to feel emboldened by the change in Administration and the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision which ruled to


constitutionally protect threatening speech posted on the Internet by anti-abortion extremists. This Administration needs to send a clear signal that violence will not be tolerated and terrorists will be brought to justice and that signal must be sent now,” urged Smeal.

The Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Access Project, the oldest and largest clinic defense project in the nation, leads efforts to keep women’s health clinics open in the face of violence and intimidation and to bring anti-abortion terrorists to justice. The National Clinic Access Project monitors anti-abortion extremists, and works with law enforcement to improve responsiveness to clinic violence. The project publishes a monthly bulletin, the Anti-Abortion Violence Watch, sent to law enforcement and media to inform and educate them on the threats posed by anti-abortion extremists. The project has conducted the most comprehensive annual nationwide social science survey of anti-abortion violence at women’s health clinics for the past eight years. A full report of the 2000 National Clinic Violence Survey can be found Online at www.feminist.org.

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© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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