Regarding Abortions & Domestic Terrorism
So, as some of you may have heard, a bomb damaged a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin this Sunday. You know the situation has become dangerous when even Rick Santorum has to condemn these actions. I’m wondering if many of my fellow conservatives (and my former party, the GOP) are going to actually bite the bullet and start referring to this incident (and many others like it) as what they actually are: acts of domestic terrorism. I remember when Sarah Palin refused to call those who bombed abortion clinics terrorists.
This is something I encountered quite a bit during my days in the GOP. I ran into quite a few anti-choice (or pro-life, if you prefer) folk who CATEGORICALLY refused to call those who would bomb an abortion clinic or attack abortion doctors/staffers ‘terrorists’. While they would offer lukewarm condemnations of the violence, they would *also* try to defend it to some extent by saying these people are ‘trying to protect innocent people from being murdered’.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I consider living, breathing people far more deserving of life and protection than the potential life that may exist within a woman’s womb. These conservatives I’d encounter would try to claim that the “just motivations” of those who either used violence or threatened violence against abortion clinics and staffers somehow made their actions not acts of terrorism. I find that attitude rather appalling, and in direct contradiction to the law.
Let’s LOOK at some definitions of terrorism and see if anti-choice extremists fit the bill.
From 28 C.F.R. Section 0.85:
“Terrorism includes the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
From 22 USC § 2656F(d):
“the term “terrorism” means premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents;”
From the FBI:
“Domestic terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States or Puerto Rico without foreign direction committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.”
To review, these attacks are: 1) unlawful, 2) use force (or the threat of force) against people or property, and 3) are designed to intimidate people into not providing or seeking abortions (a social/political goal).
So how could anyone in their reasonable mind not call the murder of abortion doctors such as Dr. Tiller, threats made against doctors/staffs of clinics, physical attacks on clinics, threats of attacks on clinics, and threats of violence made against those who use clinics anything BUT domestic terrorism? These people are trying to accomplish a political end – namely, the elimination of abortion – by using violence or the threat of violence against civilians. I’m not sure how this could be viewed through the lens of anything but domestic terrorism.
Additionally, with all of the recent rhetoric aimed at Planned Parenthood and other providers of reproductive services, I’m worried that threats and attacks will only increase in the future. The Religious Right and the Republican Party are doing everything in their power to label Planned Parenthood Public Enemy Number One. If you go on television and accuse abortionists of being child murderers who need to be stopped, don’t be surprised if someone takes you at your word and decides to take matters into their own hands. If you want to protest a woman’s right to choose – by all means, you have that right as an American citizen – but don’t you dare call those who use threats and violence to get their way anything other than what they are under the law: domestic terrorists.
I honestly feel embarrassed that any of this actually needs to be spelled out, but alas, welcome to right-wing America. Enjoy your stay.