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Date: November-13-97
Contact: Feminist Majority Foundation
Phone: 703.522.2214

Shots Ring Out in Canada: Abortion Provider Target of Attempted Murder

Statement of Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal on U.S. Implications of Canadian Anti-Abortion Terrorism

Washington DC -- Dr. Jack Fainman, a Canadian OB/GYN in Winnipeg, Manitoba, was shot through a window in his home just after 9:00pm on November 11, 1997. Officials report that the shot, fired by a sniper hiding outside of Dr. Fainman's home, tore through the doctor's right shoulder. Missing his heart by only inches, the blast reportedly left Dr. Fainman wounded but in stable condition.
These repeated, now predictable, attacks in Canada against abortion providers should serve as a warning to the United States. As we move into our own historically explosive period -- the holiday season -- abortion providers, their staff, and clients; law enforcement officials; and the pro-choice community should be on alert and increase security. Currently, Canadian and American pro-choice groups are calling for greater cooperation between Canadian and United States authorities in combating anti-abortion terrorism and investigating this, the latest attack in a campaign of terror.

"These terrible shootings seem designed to 'take out' specific abortion providers and scare off other doctors who might otherwise provide this legitimate medical procedure for women," said Jo Dufay, the Executive Director of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League (CARAL). It is a miracle no one has been killed by these vicious attacks," Dufay continued. "Some extremists will go to any lengths to oppose a woman's right to choose," concluded Dufay.

Pro-choice sources in Canada believe the shootings could be caused or inspired by United States anti-abortion terrorists. Canadian laws severely restrict the purchase and/or possession of firearms, including the high-powered rifles used in each of the attempted murders. Our research confirms the anti-choice extremists' broad range of travel. Each of the cities, Vancouver, Hamilton, and Winnipeg are easily reachable from cities near the U.S. border.

This sniper style attack marks the third of its kind in Canada in four years, each surrounding Canada's Remembrance Day. On November 8, 1994, Dr. Garson Romalis was shot in his home in Vancouver with a high-powered rifle by a sniper hiding outside, and on November 10, 1995, Dr. Hugh Short suffered a similar attack. To date, neither of these cases has been solved.

Last year's holiday season, marred by a late December stabbing of an abortion provider in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a New Year's Day bombing of a Tulsa, Oklahoma clinic, launched what has become a year of intense violence, reaching one of the highest levels since 1973.