In the early hours of the morning Monday, a person in a mask wielding what appeared to be a machete attacked the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi.
The clinic revealed in a post on their website the details of the attack on what is affectionately referred to by staff and community members as The Pink House. “A review of our DVR showed that in the early hours of the morning, a masked intruder came onto our property and proceeded to methodically destroy our cameras. Other damage found indicates they were trying to destroy the power lines coming into the building, no doubt hoping to stop all patient care for the near future.” The state-mandated generator for the clinic was also targeted and damaged.
“It angered some of us, it scared some of the staff, but we are a resilient group,” said Michelle Colon, Security Director for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, told the Feminist Newswire. She also detailed the strong relationship the clinic has with local law enforcement, and the extra steps the staff are taking to make sure that the clinic is open for those who need it. “We didn’t miss a beat. The women of Mississippi and the surrounding states have been coming to the Pink House for 20 years, and yesterday, today, and tomorrow won’t be any different. We’ll keep doing the good work we’ve always done.”
Clinic violence is a serious problem in the US, and has been increasing despite increase support from law enforcement. In fact, the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Violence Survey has shown that since 2010, the distribution of old west-style WANTED posters and pamphlets targeting doctors and clinic staff, and featuring doctors’ and staffs’ photographs, home addresses, and other personal information, have almost doubled from 27 percent to 52 percent. Furthermore, the survey shows that clinics impacted by the most serious anti-abortion threats increased from 26.6% of clinics in 2010 to 51.9 percent of clinics in 2014.
Anti-abortion extremist groups are organizing mass protests and targeting clinics in Mississippi and elsewhere in upcoming weeks. One group in particular, Operation Save America, is led in part by Jason Storms, a man who is an advocate of Justifiable Homicide of doctors, clinic workers, and supporters, along with his father-in-law Matt Trewhella. Operation Save American is partnered with a new extremist group based out of Oklahoma City, OK, called Abolish Human Abortion, which publishes the home address of clinic doctors and encourages harassment through their “Call out the Killers” campaign.
Earlier this year, anti-abortion extremists gathered outside the home of Executive Director of South Wind Women’s Center Julie Burkhart, holding signs such as “Prepare to Meet Thy God” meant to intimidate her. Another sign read “Fear Him Who Has the Power to Cast You into Hell,” and yet another said “Where is Your Church?” Dr. Tiller was murdered in the lobby of his church in Wichita, Kansas, where Burkhart’s clinic is now.
Media Resources: WakeUpMississippi.org; Feminist Majority Foundation NCAP Survey 2014;