Man arrested for attempting to murder abortion providers

From RH Reality Check comes the deeply disturbing news of a man who was arrested Wednesday and will face federal charges for intent to murder providers at a Madison, Wisconsin Planned Parenthood.

Ralph Lang, 63, was arrested Wednesday night when his gun went off in his motel room not far from the Planned Parenthood clinic that he planned to attack Thursday. According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in U.S. District Court Lang said he had a gun “to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies.”

Ralph Lang holds a sign at an anti-choice protest
The image at right, which I found via @ClinicEscort and which was uncovered by @ucc3llina, shows Lang participating in a 40 Days for Life protest outside a Madison, WI clinic. He is holding a sign that reads “Abortion stops a beating heart.” Lang told police he purchased his gun about two years ago after participating in a protest. Just in case you had any doubt about these actions inciting their most extreme, unstable participants to violence.

More of Lang’s frightening statement, from the Wisconsin State Journal:

Lang said he planned on shooting the clinic’s doctor “right in the head,” according to the complaint. Asked if he planned to shoot just the doctor or nurses, too, Lang replied he wished he “could line them up all in a row, get a machine gun, and mow them all down,” the complaint said.

Lang picked Thursday to target the clinic because he thought it was a day abortions were performed.

Lang has been arrested before for targeting Planned Parenthood – at that time he told an officer, “the bible states that anyone involved with abortion should be executed.” In his motel room, police found a map with hand drawn marks identifying “some abortion centers” and the words “Blessed Virgin Mary says Hell awaits any woman having an abortion. Nurse or doctor who helps with one.”

A pdf of the criminal complaint against Lang can be found here.

The Planned Parenthood is open again after taking the necessary security measures with FBI and police help.

Make no mistake, while there are plenty of well meaning people who call themselves pro-life, there’s nothing “pro-life” about the radical anti-choice movement. This movement repeatedly incites violence against providers. They are waging a war against those who try to peacefully offer legal, vital medical care.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • ellestar


    I’m not religious. I know that many people use religion to justify their beliefs that there should be no abortion.

    However, even I know that the Bible says no such thing about abortion or else you would see it on every damned sign an abortion protester held.

    The Bible actually says that someone who causes an abortion needs to pay reparations to the would-be father, not that he should be put to death. This is in the same eye-for-an-eye, life-for-life section of the Bible, so even the Bible doesn’t equate a fetus with a born human being.

    Also, Mary never opined against abortion. I’d like to give him a Bible and ask him to point out exactly where it talks about abortion in the way he seems to think it does.

    Just… GAH!

    • Corinne

      Interesting. Could you find the passage?

      • ellestar

        It’s Exodus 21: 22-25.

        “And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. “But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

        • Corinne


        • Crystal

          Great find. I didn’t know about this quote, or that this was what anti-choicers were referencing.

          It seriously baffles me that these people call themselves pro-life. What the hell?

      • davenj

        Exodus 21:22 When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine.

        The law of the Bible treats accidentally inducing an unwanted miscarriage as a civil, not criminal, offense.

        When compared to the way the Bible treats murder as a capital offense it seems clear that the Bible delineates between a fetus and a human life.

        I’m a religious person, but I just don’t see how the Bible treats a fetus as being human. It doesn’t. It absolutely doesn’t.

        • Fool

          Not that I want to defend a vile interpretation of the Bible, but there’s a strong difference between the accidental inducement of a miscarriage and intentionally inducing one. So far as I know there isn’t any verse creating a greater penalty for the intentional inducement of a miscarriage, but a firmly pro-life person would not be phased by this verse.

          • davenj

            But there are regulations for accidentally killing someone in the Bible, too, and they’re significantly different than this one, often involving exile and other serious penalties.

            If the penalties for accidentally killing someone and accidentally inducing a miscarriage are different then it stands to reason that there’s a difference in the Bible in the way that the law treats a human being and a fetus as it pertains to their lives.

            What this means is that when folks say “abortion is murder” they are wrong from a theological perspective if they’re using any Bible that includes Exodus.

  • Wren Fair

    The rate at which the anti-choice movement seems to be gaining steam is very alarming, especially in my home state, Texas. Texas is considering legislation to bar funding from Planned Parenthood, which is unfortunate because myself and several of my friends depend on that organization for things like birth control, STD testing, and pre-natal care. I took a class this semester in which we had to present a “law” of sorts for our final project, and I was shocked at how many people presented anti-abortion policies, and saddened that all the presenters who did were in fact young women. There seems to be an ironic belief in this country that morally justifies the murder of an adult to save an unborn child (assuming you can surmise the hypocrisy there without explanation), while adopting a social darwinist attitude as soon as these children leave the womb. By that I mean that abortion has been reintroduced into the national conversation as a huge human rights issue, while things like education, healthcare, and other social programs for children are tossed out the window without a thought. The best way to prevent abortions, which I think everyone can agree are not ideal but in many cases necessary and beneficial, is to prevent unwanted pregnancies and educate young women about how to be safe when having sex. My governor, Rick Perry, is determined to do all he can to make it harder for Texas women to receive the care they need. Let’s face it, Texas never has been very pro-woman, but now even the women of my state seem to be against themselves! Education is needed in this situation all around, not only on how to prevent pregnancy in the first place, but about the rights of women and of men to decide what happens with their bodies and their lives.

    • Kat

      There seems to be an ironic belief in this country that morally justifies the murder of an adult to save an unborn child (assuming you can surmise the hypocrisy there without explanation), while adopting a social darwinist attitude as soon as these children leave the womb.


      Everytime I hear about whackjobs like this guy it makes me think of the slogan “Killing for war is like fucking for virginity”. :^/

      • Matthew T. Jameson

        “Killing for PEACE is like fucking for virginity.”

  • Rachel

    I wish every single person who wishes that abortion was once again illegal reads this article so that they know just how complex the abortion issue is:

    Such a happening in this article shouldn’t happen in this country.