Abortion Clinic Attacks Are Domestic Terrorism

Three people were killed and 9 were wounded during a 5 hour gun battle at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs on the day after Thanksgiving (11/27/15).  There were reports that the gunman had uttered “no more baby parts” during his arrest.  This is the 6th major attack on Planned Parenthood clinics since July 2015, following the release of a series of heavily edited videos from groups trying to set up Planned Parenthood, and using actors.  The 6 attacks have been reported on individually, but the trend of these attacks has been mostly ignored by the mainstream media, and by law enforcement at a national level.  

Beyond these 6 attacks on Planned Parenthood clinics, but there have been constant attacks on clinics, doctors, clinic staff and patients over decades, violent acts to scare doctors and staff and ultimately force abortion clinics to close.  It is clear to many people that these attacks are acts of domestic terrorism, and should be investigated by the Department of Justice.  Let’s explore that.  We’ll look at the definition of domestic terrorism  and then look at some of the attacks, and visit statistics on attacks and threats to clinics over the years, to see if these actions fit the definition.

The FBI defines the threat of domestic terror as “Americans attacking Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies” in “Domestic Terrorism In the Post-9/11 Era.

According to Wikipedia in its definition, “domestic terrorism is commonly associated with violent acts committed by citizens or permanent residents of a state against their own people or property within that state without foreign influence in an effort to instill fear on a population or government as a tactic designed to advance political, religious, or ideological objectives.

Plenty of these attacks have occurred in the United States – certainly all of the Planned Parenthood clinic and people attacks in the past few months were in the US.  Many people believe these latest attacks are a direct result of the doctored videos attacking Planned Parenthood.  The doctored videos were released about one per week in July of 2015, as you can read in “Anti-abortion group releases fourth Planned Parenthood video.”  Read about the controversy over the heavily edited series of videos released by anti-abortion group who released the videos calls themselves the “Center for Medical Progress” at PP 2015 Undercover Videos ControversyAmong other things, the anti-abortion group who released the videos has accused Planned Parenthood of selling aborted fetuses for a profit, a charge Planned Parenthood has denied. “One of its videos, recorded in secret and released July 14, 2015, shows members of the anti-abortion group posing as tissue brokers discussing terms for procuring fetal tissue.” This video prompted “lawmakers in several states to launch investigations and Republicans in Congress to attempt cutting off more than $500 million in federal money.” Planned Parenthood maintains that its process is legal and limited to a handful of states.  Read more at PolitiFact Sheet: 8 things to know about the Planned Parenthood controversy.

These videos are riling up a population, and their content and veracity has been exaggerated and politicized during Republican presidential debates, for example. And also with lawmakers launching investigations of PP and attempts to cut off more than $500 million in federal funding for PP.  And the attacks are getting worse.  The Colorado attacker went after people on 11/27/15, whereas the first 5 attacks targeted clinics. The first 4 attacks were cases of arson, and the fifth was something new. Read more about the first 4 attacks at “False videos against PP inspire violence around the country “.  In the fifth attack (11/21/15 in Claremont, New Hampshire), an intruder used a hatchet to destroy computers, plumbing fixtures, phones and medical equipment inside a Planned Parenthood clinic.   Read more about that in “Planned Parenthood office in Claremont heavily damaged by intruder.” The Claremont clinic doesn’t provide abortions itself, and had been operated by PP for 18 years without incident.  That Claremont clinic just reopened on 11/30/15, according to “Planned Parenthood Clinic Damaged in Hatchet Attack Reopens.”

The teenager wielding the hatchet in Claremont was caught in the act.  The murderer in Colorado Springs was subdued after a 5 hour standoff. It is interesting that these attackers are not being categorized as “right wing extremists” or “white terrorists.”  

It is terrible to watch Planned Parenthood being singled out for different treatment from media, law enforcement, and Congress. And it is up to feminists to change that.

Attacks and threats to abortion clinics have been going on for decades and continue.  The statistics in this meme are based on statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers. Since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been..


“Don’t like the word “terrorism”? At what point does the term apply? Is it with death threat #500?” posted Bill Taverner on Facebook, where it says Taverner is “Editor in Chief” at the American Journal of Sexuality Education.  Taverner continued, How many bombings would it take before we would call this “terrorism” directed at any other business?”

These are very important questions. Planned Parenthood staff (and other abortion clinic staff) go to work every day knowing they and their patients are going to be harassed and threatened.   How long will people allow Planned Parenthood (and other clinics) to be treated worse than any other businesses? Besides the harassment of patients and staff, email, personal and phone threats to staff, there are some crazy other interference going on in many places. In some clinics, as in Charlotte NC, people shout at patients and staff with megaphones and loudspeakers, and have done so every week for years.

As Jessica Valenti wrote in “Violent anti-choice rhetoric must end, or anti-abortion violence never will,”

“Words matter. When we dehumanize people – when we call them demons, monsters, and murderers – we make it easier for others to do them harm. “

“How we talk about abortion matters. We know it, and anti-choice extremists and politicians know it. Anti-abortion activists are not making WANTED posters or revealing doctor’s addresses for fun. They’re doing it to harass and intimidate, and they’re doing it knowing the long history of violent fanatics using their rhetoric to justify crimes against providers and clinics.”

Seems clear that the intent of the videos was to rile people up against PP, and these continued attacks show that happened, even though much of the videos were disputed and some disproven.  Doctors and staff and Planned Parenthood and other clinics are somehow treated differently than other medical businesses. It is up to people like us to insist Planned Parenthood and other clinics be treated like the women-friendly, affordable and vitally important medical clinics they are.  

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