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2001-10-23

A Case in Domestic Terrorism: A Look at the Violence Against Abortion Providers

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Since abortion was made legal in 1973, there have been 2,400 incidents of abortion clinic violence. 7 abortionproviders have been killed, and more than 150 clinics have been bombed or set on fire.

So when over 150 Planned Parenthood and independent women’s health facilities received envelopes containing anthraxthreats last week, the terrorist threat was certainly not new. According to the National Abortion Federation, therehave been at least 80 anthrax threats against providers since 1998.

This time, a chapter of the Army of God — the underground antiabortion group who say they have targeted abortionproviders with arson attacks, assassinations and bombings for over 20 years ­ claimed responsibility for some of theletters. "You have been exposed to anthrax," the letters announced. "We are going to kill all of you. From the Armyof God, Virginia Dare Chapter"

The Rev. Donald Spitz, spokesman for the Army of God, announced on his web site that the flood of potentiallylife-threatening mail "made my day," though he denied having any knowledge of where the letters came from. Anthraxtests on the envelopes all came back negative.

Dr. LeRoy Carhart is an abortion provider in Bellevue, Nebraska. Last year, Dr. Carhart challenge d Nebraska’s ban onso-called "partial-birth abortions"—-and took it all the way to the Supreme Court. In June, the Supreme Court foundthe ban unconstitutional and struck it down. Last week, Carhart, who is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, sentan open letter to President Bush, which begins by thanking the president for his response to the September 11, 2001terrorist attack. His letter pleads with Bush to help the nation’s abortion providers and their staffs who have beenthe victims of repeated acts of what he calls "radical religious terrorists."

Carhart’s letter continues: "They have burnt and bombed our homes and businesses. They have kidnapped and heldhostage our members, and, without regard to age or sex they have murdered our unarmed men and women. . . Terrorism isterrorism. Please take a stand against domestic terrorism directed against America’s abortion providers."

The producers of "SOLDIERS IN THE ARMY OF GOD" gained unprecedented access to members of the Army of God to shootthis powerful expose of the extreme fringes of the anti-abortion movement. The film features an exclusive death rowinterview with Paul Hill, who murdered two abortion clinic workers outside a Pensacola Florida clinic in 1998. Thefilm aired on HBO’s "America Undercover" series last April.

Guests:

  • Dr Leroy Carhart, Nebraska abortion provider.
  • Frederick Clarkson, reporter on the religious right and author of "Eternal Hostility: The Struggle BetweenTheocracy And Democracy." He wrote a piece in salon.com last week called "The nation’s last anthrax scare."
  • Daniel Voll, producer of the film "Soldiers In The Army Of God" He wrote "The Future of the Armed AbortionMovement" for Esquire in February 1999, shortly after the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian. The piece wasnominated for a National Magazine Award.

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