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LJWorld.com weblogs Sharpening My Pen

Homegrown Terrorism

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A wave of domestic terrorism is sweeping the South. In the past four weeks three womens healthcare clinics in Georgia and one in Alabama have been firebombed.
http://www.ajc.com/news/womens-clinics-on-heightened-1446171.html
These incidents followed several burglaries and break ins at clinics in March where computer equipment was stolen or destroyed and offices vandalized.
On May 24th, a woman's advocacy group in New Orleans called Women with a Vision was targeted and firebombed. This group has nothing to do with "abortion", per se, but were instrumental in forcing the Louisiana government to repeal a law targeting women in the sex trade as "sex offenders" and branding them as such on their drivers licenses.
http://www.thelmagazine.com/TheMeasure/archives/2012/05/30/women-with-a-vision-hq-set-on-fire-how-to-help
Although the FBI and ATF are investigating these incidents as "potential" acts of domestic terrorism, Homeland Security has not become involved and few news sources to date have branded it that. And that's a matter for concern. These acts are escalating and although, to date, no human life has been taken or harmed, if they continue on this path, that will be the next step.
Anti-abortion groups such as Operation Rescue state that they disavow this kind of action. However, it should be pointed out that Cheryl Sullenger, second in command behind Troy Newman at that organization, is, herself, a convicted felon for doing just that; attempting to fire bomb a clinic. It was also Sullenger's private cell phone number that was found on the dash of Scott Roeder's car when he was arrested. (Initially, Sullenger said she had no idea who Roeder was and had never had contatct with him. Confronted with the phone number, she stated that she "only" kept Roeder advised of Tiller's court dates. So obviously, the woman isn't above lying.)
The break ins tie into a new type of radical action by these groups; naming and shaming.
In early May, Operation Rescue announced they had the names of 86 women treated at a clinic in Kansas City.
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/06/1089356/-Operation-Rescue-Posts-Abortion-Patient-Information-Online
Although they haven't announced those names to date, the threat is there; that they will "out" these women as having had abortions. (This is despite the fact that the clinic maintains the only records they could have obtained were appointment calendars and inter-office communications, none of which states why those women came to the clinic, whether for abortion services or other health care related issues such as contraception, etc. These documents were also shredded which means the people at OR put in a tremendous amount of work pasting those records back together.)
This is the new frontier in their anti-abortion fight. If they can't get women to stop any other way, the threat of invasion of privacy, whether real or imagined, may have an effect.
OR states that the records were "given" to them and they have handed over redacted copies (meaning they are keeping the most essential information for themselves) to the state. The clinic states that the shred was stolen from a locked dumpster right outside of the clinic (and has the security video footage to prove it). Doesn't this mean that OR is in possession of stolen property? And if so, why hasn't it been returned to it's rightful owner?
The break ins and subsequent arson fires at the clinics in the South are following a precedent; obtain the information necessary to invade the privacy of these women and "out" them to their communities. To date, no one has come forward with the information taken from those clinics.
But the threat is there, along with the threat to the people that work for women's healthcare.

Comments

Leslie Swearingen 2 years, 4 months ago

To me these people seem beyond crazy, I do not understand that depth of hate. Women's clinics are very much needed and help women to be healthy in ways that have nothing to do with abortion.
I can't see that they are that much different than the Health Department as they both have the same goals which are to make medical care available to everyone that needs it. Thank you for the blog, this is something we should all be thinking about. But, what can we, the reader, do to make the situation better?

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 4 months ago

Thank you, Jesse. I had forgotten about that one. The fact that there have been five arson fires in three interconnected states in a one month period may indicate that there is just one perpetrator (or group of perpetrators). One of the GA fires was actually rather brazen, occurring in daylight hours when there were people in the clinic. This is one of the reasons for my concern that they are escalating and that actually killing people may be the next step. As for the WI fire, I'm not surprised that nothing much was done about it, given that their governor is in the middle of a contentious recall election and his campaign financing actually includes a legal defense fund.

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