How the Right Plays With Murder: The Antiabortion Movement’s Cycle of Violence
Antiabortion activists are descending on Albuquerque, N.M., picketing not just clinics but the city’s Holocaust Museum, and targeting local abortion providers as “killers.” Despite the rhetoric, the protests are so far nonviolent. But if the past is any guide, we may be headed for something worse.
That’s because the activists currently amassing in Albuquerque are affiliated with the very groups whose actions have a propensity to lead to the killing, assaulting, harassing and attempting to murder clinic workers.
The Albuquerque protests are organized primarily by Operation Rescue and Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust. Their main target is the Southwestern Women’s Options clinic, one of the few providing late-term abortions to women in need.
The focus on Albuquerque echoes the targeting of Wichita, Kan. Beginning in the early 1990s, antiabortion activists set their sights on Wichita because it was home to the medical practice of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few physicians in the Midwest who performed late-term abortions. Over the summer of 1991, antiabortion activists, largely organized by the group Operation Rescue, flocked to Wichita to assault Dr. Tiller’s clinic and two others. Over six weeks there were 2,600 arrests. While antiabortion activists had committed acts of violence before, 1991′s “Summer of Mercy” turned it up a notch. Since 1991, there have been 17 attempted murders of abortion providers. One of those providers was Dr. Tiller, who was shot twice in the arm outside his health center in 1993. Eight clinic workers have been killed, starting with Dr. David Gunn and two clinic receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, in 1994, and extending through 2009 when Dr. Tiller was shot to death at church.