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To arrange a media interview with Ellie Smeal or other spokespersons at Feminist Majority Foundation, contact the FMF media department at 703-522-2214.


Date: January-16-97
Contact: Dee Martin
Phone: 703.522.2214

Feminist Majority Condemns Atlanta Bombing, Calls for Classification of Anti-Abortion Violence as Domestic Terrorism

New Survey Finds Severe Anti-abortion Violence Still Plagues Almost One-Third of Clinics

As the Feminist Majority Foundation, National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America were holding a press conference this morning on anti-abortion violence at clinics, we received word that yet another clinic has been destroyed by a bomb. We were horrified and outraged by news of this tragedy, but hardly surprised since our press conference was called to bring attention to the persistent violence being targeted at abortion clinics nationwide. In fact, our newly released 1996 National Clinic Survey had revealed an increase in clinic bombings between 1995 and 1996.
Passage and enforcement of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act and pro-choice vigilance have reduced the percentage of clinics experiencing severe violence from over 50% in 1995 to 29.5% today. But to further reduce the violence we believe that anti-abortion violence must be classified as domestic terrorism and that increased federal, state, and local law enforcement resources must be allocated to crack the reign of terror.

Unacceptably high levels of violence continue at abortion clinics, putting clinic personnel, patients, and abortion rights in peril. As todays bombing and our survey amply demonstrate, clinic violence is not a thing of the past. Our data and our day-in-day-out work with clinics tell us that the violence has by no means ended. Just two weeks ago a physician in New Orleans was brutally stabbed 15 times by an assailant who then traveled to a Baton Rouge clinic, where he was found lying in wait for a second physician. Fortunately, because of the vigilance of pro-choice advocates in New Orleans, this man, who is from Texas is now behind bars and is being charged with attempted murder.

Our survey shows conclusively that better law enforcement has the capacity to decrease violence. Clinics which reported excellent law enforcement response experienced lower levels of violence than those which characterized law enforcement response as poor. Clinics with buffer zones saw greater decreases in violence than those without buffer zone protection.

On the eve of the 24th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and an anticipated weekend of anti-abortion activities at clinics, it serves no ones interest to allow pro-choice activists, clinics, and the media to be lulled into a sense of false security. Instead, we need to focus on improving response at all levels of law enforcement.