On Saturday, an anti-abortion protester accidentally shot himself outside of A Woman’s Choice clinic in Raleigh, North Carolina.
According to Kelsea McLain, a lead volunteer coordinator with the clinic, the facility has lockdown protocols to follow when a gun is seen on site, but no staff members realized that the protester was armed until after the gun was fired. When police came, they briefly investigated and allowed the other protesters to remain. The police are also refusing to report his name.
“That to me just sends this clear-cut message to these protesters: that this level of violence and escalation is actually OK. You can get away with it… RPD did nothing. Nothing was done to ensure that there were no guns present on anyone else”.
Woman’s Choice of Raleigh said in a statement that the city council and mayor should “create a buffer zone to protect abortion patients and providers in Raleigh.” The clinic also called for an investigation into RPD’s conduct, which they called “outrageously insufficient.”
“We have been asking for RPD’s support for years and they’ve been dismissive of the harassment, intimidation, threats, and acts of violence against our staff, volunteers, and patients,” the clinic said in its statement. “No one should be blocked from getting health care or be intimidated when they go to a clinic. No one should have to experience this kind of intrusion and harassment at their workplace … This atrocious behavior would not be tolerated outside any other medical facility.”
The group of anti- abortion protesters consisted of 22 people, including children. Police gave protesters many warnings, and arrested those who refused to leave the inside of the facility for trespassing.
Clinic harassment and violence has increased in recent years according to the National Abortion Federation. In 2015, nine people were injured and three were killed in a mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.
“No one should be blocked from getting health care or be intimidated when they seek to enter a small business of any kind. No one should experience intrusion or harassment,” said Carafem COO Melissa Grant. “The tactics used by the anti-abortion extremists right here in Nashville and across the country are intended to shame, frighten, and prevent people from obtaining the legal goods and services that they want and need.”
Sources: WMBF Associated Press 3/7/21; News & Observer 3/7/21; News4 Nashville 3/5/21; Atlas One 3/5/21; Wilson Post 3/5/21