An Abortion Provider’s Story of Terror
“When It Got to the Murders, I Think I Was Surprised by That”:
Rodney’s first experience with targeted protest came as a result of the regular large-scale protests outside of the clinic where he first worked as an abortion provider. Two of the regular protesters were the parents of Rodney’s son’s fiancée. When they learned that their daughter’s soon-to-be father-in-law was a doctor at the clinic, they forced her to move out of their house and cut off their support. When the two were finalizing their wedding plans, protesters made it clear that they planned to target the wedding. The priest for the wedding threatened to call the police if the protesters interrupted the services and told them, “If a priest has you arrested, it’s not going to do your cause any good.” The priest did not allow any protest but allowed the protesters to stand in an anteroom where they could see the services but could not be heard.
By the early 1990s, the protesters started targeting Rodney in a much more direct and violent manner. One day, Rodney was working at the clinic when he received a call from a police officer who told him that his house and barn were on fire. The fire was so large that an Air Force plane flying over the scene saw the fire and reported it. Rodney said that despite the call from the pilot, it took three calls before firefighters appeared. By the time the firefighters arrived at the scene, the fire had been burning for nearly two hours. Rodney and his family lost everything they owned other than what they were wearing at the time. They lost their house, their barn, and three separate outbuildings. Their dog, cats, and seventeen horses were killed. Thankfully, the human members of Rodney’s family were not injured because none were home at the time.