Christians, they are not. Compassionate, they are not. Violent militants with martyr fantasies, they are. They are also terrorists. I'm referring to militant wing of the anti-abortion movement, and the recent discovery of two notable (albeit small) anti-abortion events this summer, just a week apart. One is in Birmingham, and is sponsored by Operation Save America (formerly Operation Rescue, before they rightfully lost their tax-exempt status). The other, being held in Milwaukee, is a week-long show of support for executed murderer Paul Hill. Actually, it is a celebration of the murders he committed in Pensacola, Florida, complete with a reenactment of the crime. Let that sink-in a bit before I continue.
Let's take a look at the Operation Save America protest first. It is scheduled to take place in front of Birmingham's two last remaining clinics from July 14-22. At first glace, it doesn't seem as terrorizing as the Paul Hill Memorial. Their website praises pressure to make doctors stop their practice, or to close their clinics, but does not call flor violence against doctors. The website attempts to link the anti-abortionist movement to the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The author of the event page makes this fascinating insight:
Rev. Martin Luther King's famous “ Letter from the Birmingham Jail ” was actually written from the Birmingham jail.
I'm impressed. Who would have thunk it? And did Bob Dylan really perform on 4th Street? And where is President Grant buried again?
But he or she goes on to compare abortionists to the Ku Klux Klan. Uh oh. Perhaps the author didn't see the reports from the Southern Law Poverty Center, the FBI, and several journalists that have established a significant link between white supremacists, violent anti-abortion opponents, and what was known as the 'patriot' movement in the 1990s. The "wanted" posters featuring the names and photos of abortion providers actually originated with the KKK in 1985. Nice try, OSA. But the white supremacist link is stuck to folks like you.
But why is the protest happening in Birmingham? Is it really an homage to the legacy of Dr. King? Are the anti-abortion activists the abolitionists of today? Well, not exactly. You see, one of the two remaining clinics in Birmingham happens to be the New Woman All Women Health Care Clinic, a site that was bombed with dynamite by Eric Robert Rudolph of the domestic terrorist group, Army of God (and I don't use the word terrorist lightly). You might remember that bombing, since it is the only fatal bombing of an family planning clinic in the USA. An off-duty cop moonlighting as the clinic's security guard was killed and a nurse was seriously wounded. That was in January 1998. It was Rudolph's final bombing before going into hiding in the North Carolina woods.
That clinic is not taking the upcoming protest lightly. They are reading it as a threat and another wave of intimidation. The Feminist Majority Foundation writes:
The New Woman All Women Heath Care clinic in Birmingham, Alabama is facing a siege by the anti-abortion group Operation Save America in July.
This clinic has been the target of extreme anti-abortion violence. Remember, this very clinic was bombed by Eric Robert Rudolph in 1998, killing a security guard and severely injuring a nurse...
Our senior field organizer just returned from Birmingham where she met with clinic staff and law enforcement officials to prepare for the siege. This clinic is important because it is one of the few clinics in Alabama that serves patients from across the state and from as far away as Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi. In the weeks leading up to the event, and during the protests themselves, the Feminist Majority Foundation will provide critical security assistance to keep clinic workers and patients safe.
We have worked with the New Woman All Women clinic for more than 13 years—first in 1994 when we mobilized and trained hundreds of volunteers and succeeded in keeping the clinic safe and open during Operation Save America's "Holy Week Passion for Life" protests. And we were there again in 1998, less than 24 hours after the Rudolph bombing, helping the clinic to clean up and reopen and assisting law enforcement in their investigation.
Now, a Birmingham pastor is inviting Operation Save America to "let us bring glory and honor to God by finishing the work that was begun in Birmingham thirteen years ago." Operation Save America is promoting the Birmingham siege on their web site, saying their goal is to "push what is left of the abortion industry [of Birmingham] into a deep grave." How outrageous!
I wish them luck. I hope no on on their side is injured if things get heated.
Moving on, I turn my attention to the less subtle celebration of the crimes of Paul Jennings Hill in, of all places, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was not born there, nor did he go to school there. Paul Hill was a son of the south, from Misassippi to the Florida panhandle. For the 10th anniversary of the murders, the Paul Hill Memorial Tour went to Pensacola. But this time they are in the cheese state. In any case, there are two known clinics in Milwaukee, and they are being targeted by this event, scheduled for July 26-29.
March 1993 through December 1994 was quite a period in the militant anti-abortionist movement. There were five murders (three in Florida, two in Massachusetts), a spike in violent protests and threats, fierce Easter week protests staged by Operation Rescue, and the Christian identity / militia movement was exposed by the bombing of the Murrah building in Oklahoma City. Paul J. Hill had to have been inspired by the murder of Dr. Gunn in March 1993. Less than two weeks after Gunn's death, Hill appeared on Nightline and the Donahue show advocating the murder of abortion providers. He had what he felt was a purpose in life, and in July 1994, he slaughtered Dr. John Britton and his bodyguard, James Barrett as they drove-up to their parking spot at the doctor's clinic in Pensacola, Florida. With over four blasts from his shotgun, Paul Hill murdered the two unnarmed men as they sat in the truck's front seat, and also seriously wounded Mrs. barrett, the bodyuard's wife, who sat in the back. All the shots were fired after the truck pulled into the parking area, and Mr. barrett had rolled down his window to tell Paul Hill to step aside to let the truck through. All shots were fired from behind the victims, through the rear windshield. Mrs. Barrett ducked for cover, while the two men were both hit in the back and head multiple times.
That's an act bravery by a Soldier of God, isn't it?
Anyway, the Army of God has Paul J. Hill listed in their hall of fame. The webmaster for the Army of God, the Reverand Donald Spitz, is on-record praising Hill's acts. Furthermore, the Army of God has confirmed that they were associated with Eric Robert Rudolph. And Rev. Spitz is a co-sponsor of the Paul Hill Memorial events in Milwaukee next month. The event itself is being presented by George L. Wilson, operator of the pro-violence site Children Need Heroes, and Drew Heiss of StreetPreach, a pro-gun, anti-abortionist group that features links to both "extremists" (as their site lists them) and various non-violent pro-life minitries (all of which refer to clinics as "mills," I see).
I should point out that Children Need Heroes is a creepy site. I wonder if Dr. George Tiller has seen it. There he would see the only convicted female anti-abortion terrorist, the one who shot him once in each arm, Shelley Shannon, who will remain in prison until at least 2018. The FAQ page for Children Need Heroes is extraordinary, but it certainly makes sense in the contect that they see violence as a heroic, rightous act. A sample question from the FAQ reads:
Q: But isn’t it wrong to present these convicted criminals to children as heroes?
A: These heroes protected children. They saved children’s lives. The children Paul Hill protected would be 12 years old now. These heroes are truly childrens’ heroes. All of us, but especially children, should know about Paul Hill, Shelly Shannon, James Kopp and other great men and women who have used force to protect innocent children from abortion.
Got that, kids? You should admire James Kopp. He only shot that dirty Jewish doctor, Barnett Slepian in the chest with a sniper rife in the name of Jesus. His wife and children could do nothing as they saw Dr. Slepian bleed to death on their kitchen floor (and later in an ER) in Amherst, NY nine years ago. It's a beautiful story, kids. You should aspire to be just like Mr. Kopp, who heroically fled to France and evaded capture for years before being brought back to the USA and sentenced to life behind bars.
So when you go to the Paul Hill Memorial 2007 page, the first thing you read is this:
On July 29, 1994 Paul Hill defended the lives of innocent babies by killing a filthy baby killer and his good for nothing bodyguard. He acted in accordance to Holy Scripture.
On September 3, 2003 the State of Florida executed Paul Hill. We will never forget our dear brother or the truths for which he lived and died.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I will produce a new post if video of the murder reenactment turns-up anywhere, or if eyewitness accounts turn-up. The best place to follow this for the time being is Talk2Action and perhaps the event sites themselves.
I wish the four target clinics and their patients all the best.
I usually refrain from doing more than one post about abortion rights in a month, but this news has me riled-up. The obscenity and the violence of the other side always strikes a nerve in me. There are more than a few shameless, bona-fide terrorists on the other side. These are people who have bombed or set fires to clinics, attacked doctors, murdered doctors and clinic staff, threatened doctors, associated with white supremacist groups, threatened anthrax attacks, and have dreamt of inflicting greater death and destruction upon clinic sites and staff.
I'm frankly amazed they have never attempted to bomb Planned parenthood's headquarters in New York City (they have certainly made threats). But for how much longer will New York be free of sensationalist protests such as these? Again, I refer to my post from yesterday. Have these domestic terrorists conceded Manhattan as a place of accessible abortions, or do they dream of bringing their holy war here? Or are they just sending a message to doctors to be afraid? That's the first priority of terrorism: to scare people. As the ancient Chinese proverb says, "Kill one, frighten ten thousand." Thing is, there are far fewer than ten thousand licensed abortion providers in the USA.
I end this post with lyrics to a song I only just discovered while writing the words above. It seems fitting. Here are the lyrics to "Hello Birmingham," a fine protest song by Ani DiFranco:
hold me down
i am floating away
into the overcast skies
over my home town
on election day
what is it about birmingham?
what is it about buffalo?
did the hate filled wanna build bunkers
in your beautiful red earth
they want to build them
in our shiny white snow
now i've drawn closed the curtain
in this little booth where the truth has no place
and i am feeling oh so powerless
in this stupid booth with this useless
little lever in my hand
and outside my city is bracing
for the next killing thing
standing by the bridge and praying
for the next doctor
it was just one shot
through the kitchen window
it was just two miles from here
if you fly like a crow
a bullet came to visit a doctor
in his one safe place
a bullet ensuring the right to life
whizzed past his kid and his wife
and knocked his glasses
right off of his face
and the blood poured off the pulpit
yeah the blood poured down the picket lines
yeah, the hatred was immediate
and the vengeance was divine
so they went and stuffed god
down the barrel of a gun
and after him
they stuffed his only son
i heard you had some trouble
down there again
and i'm just calling to let to know
that someone understands
i was once escorted
through the doors of a clinic
by a man in a bulletproof vest
and no bombs went off that day
so i am still here to say
i'm wishing you all of my best
i'm wishing you all of my best
i'm wishing you all of my best
on this election day