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Senate Majority Whip Calls Anti Abortion Extremists Terrorists

The Feminist Majority joins Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) in his condemnation of a group of extreme anti abortion activists and their acts of domestic terrorism. In a statement on the Senate floor last Thursday, Reid boldly called for the Senate, law enforcement and the American people to identify as terrorists “an organized network of violent extremists, including a group that calls itself the Army of God.“The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds Sen. Reid for calling these violent extremists by the name they deserve – domestic terrorists,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, which operates the oldest and largest clinic defense project in the nation that alerts law enforcement and the media to the network of anti abortion extremists. “These terrorists belong in the same category as those who committed the heinous acts of September 11 and the Taliban militants who have terrorized the women of Afghanistan.”

Reid told the Senate about Dr. Barnett Slepian, a Buffalo, NY gynecologist and obstetrician, who was shot to death in cold blood in his own home in 1998 – James Kopp, a notoriously violent anti abortion extremist, is currently on trial for his murder. Kopp has also been indicted for the shooting of a doctor in Canada and is a suspect in three other shootings of doctors who provided abortions. “We must remain vigilant and continue to take appropriate action to prevent extremist groups from terrorizing victims. Their intention is to intimidate and threaten, and sometimes they succeed as some doctors have given up their practice due to the emotional stress and constant fear they faced,” Reid said. “Dr. Slepian courageously endured threats for over a decade before he was murdered.”

Reid pointed out that Kopp and others have been supported by a network of extremists in their acts of harassment, intimidation and violence. Their crimes include kidnapping, bombing, arson, assault and murder – they have targeted health clinic employees, judges, doctors and even doctors’ children. In addition, these groups are allegedly tied to Websites that post “hit lists” with the names, addresses, license plate numbers of doctors and others targeted. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that these Websites pose an illegal threat and are in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. “Those who kill and commit other heinous acts to express their opposition to abortion do so with the support of many others – people who fund their crimes, aid and abet them, harbor fugitives. Others help create a climate that encourages this violence through their hateful speech – or by remaining silent. We cannot remain silent. We must say loudly and unequivocally that murder is wrong,” Reid said.

Learn More About FMF’s National Clinic Access Project

Media Resources: Senate Floor Statement 6/13/02

© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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