Terror in our midst: Clinic bomber admits he did it “because they’re killing babies there”

This is what domestic terrorism looks like, folks.

Via TPM, the man accused of bombing a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin said yesterday that he did it “because they’re killing babies there.”

As in, he joined the growing list of extreme anti-choice domestic terrorists who bomb, shoot, and act with intent to kill, sometimes succesffully, in the name of their “pro-life” cause.

In this case, the explosion didn’t kill anyone. It started a  fire that caused a small amount of damage to the building. But that doesn’t change what this was. This this was no single act of failed mischief. This was not the exception, and Grady is not some extremist lone wolf. As Chloe put it when we first reported the story earlier this week, we need to call this what is is: part of a years-long, coordinated, national effort to intimidate and threaten American health workers from being able to safely do their job. This is a shameful and blatant scare tactic, and it should not be tolerated in this or any country.

The thing is, it is not only tolerated but encouraged by various actors in the anti-choice communities. Even though Rick Santorum has condemned the attack publicly, he failed to acknowledge the role that he plays in stoking the fire by perpetrating misinformation and scare tactics around abortion.

We need to start being honest about the role that supposedly mainstream anti-choice rhetoric plays in emboldening and empowering domestic terrorists. Forcing someone to carry a pregnancy to term against their wishes is violence, and those politicians, activists, or lawmakers that wish to do so by definition employ violent means. There is no anti-violent anti-choice position.

The truth is that by endorsing the idea that abortion providers and the health care workers who work at Planned Parenthood clinics are “baby killers” or are doing something wrong by helping people access a perfectly legal medical procedure, they are feeding the trolls and stoking the fires of major anti-choice extremism and violence. To many of these terrorists, including Scott Roeder who murdered Dr. George Tiller in cold blood, violence is the logical conclusion of the warped anti-choice logic that even the most “moderate” of abortion opponents perpetrate. So when anti-choice propaganda masquerades as storytelling, it empowers these terrorists.

When Republican presidential candidates make coded references to baby-killing and distort the facts on birth control and family planning, it empowers these terrorists.

When the mainstream media presents anti-choice radicalism as a fair and balanced viewpoint to pro-choice politics, it empowers these terrorists.

We shouldn’t pretend otherwise.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman is Executive Director of Partnerships at Feministing, where she enjoys creating and curating content on gender, race, class, technology, and the media. Lori is also an advocacy and communications professional specializing in sexual and reproductive rights and health, and currently works in the Global Division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. A graduate of Harvard University, she lives in Brooklyn.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/kkimber/ Kirby

    There is rightful anger and hurt over this incident, but to make statements like “there is no anti-violent anti-choice position” is not the way to go about expressing it. Making these types of statements are no better than those who say there is no such thing as a non-violent Islam.

    • http://feministing.com/members/alicephilippa/ Alice Chapman

      The way I see it is that forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term is committing violence upon the person. Whether physical because of, for example, risks associated with that particular pregnancy; or emotional, because, for example, someone has conceived through contraception failure and is not ready, for whatever reason to care for a child.

      I do think a comparison between pro-choice and Islam is not helpful. An individual’s belief in Islam is not directly affecting another person. Whereas an individual’s pro-choice stance is directly aimed at controlling the options available to others.

    • http://feministing.com/members/samll/ Sam Lindsay-Levine

      I think such a statement is definitely impolite but depending on your moral framework is not necessarily incorrect. Lori believes that the government restricting a medical procedure is a form of violence (an interesting argument, even if it shares an uncomfortable overlap with other arguments that, e.g., taxation is a form of violence) and so to her any advocacy of such restriction is an advocacy of violence.

      I think better comparisons might be “there is no anti-violent pro-war-in-Afghanistan position”; “there is no anti-violent anti-shoplifting position”; or even “there is no such thing as a non-delusional Islam (Christianity, Hinduism, etc.)”.

  • http://feministing.com/members/brittforbes93/ Brittany

    The logic astounds me. “They’re killing babies in there,” so you decide to bomb the place, killing adults?

  • http://feministing.com/members/mdesomer/ MN

    I certainly agree that lies circulating about abortion do feed the flames when it comes to giving people like this confidence to be violent. As terrible as that is, I think it would be unfair to label all anti-choice people as violent. Clearly some of them would never dream of doing something like what this man did, and are probably horrified by his actions. If someone took your viewpoint and used it as a justification for violent actions I don’t think that you would want to claim what that person did either.

  • http://feministing.com/members/greenthumb/ Mo

    Surprising I only vaguely remember hearing of this. Definitely got crowded out by the juicy news cycle nationally, and locally here in the great state of Wisconsin.

    That and I’ve been working hard expanding my garden and getting it ready for planting in a month or so. High five there.

  • http://feministing.com/members/emr76/ EMR76

    “There is no anti-violent anti-choice position.”

    Unless of course, you consider the millions of pro-life folks that, you know, haven’t done anything violent.

  • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    Is violence only a physical act?

    Is advocating legislation to impose your moral framework on the bodies of people who may not want to choose the same a form of violence?

    If one believes it is (as I do) then the pro life/anti choice movement by it’s very nature contains an inherent violence.

    • http://feministing.com/members/emr76/ EMR76

      “Is violence only a physical act?”

      Yes, otherwise it isn’t violent. Bombing: violent. /// Imposing moral framework through legislation: not violent

      Quite a difference. You won’t be able to charge someone with battery (or murder) for one of those.

      • http://feministing.com/members/azure156/ Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

        So you don’t believe in emotional or psychological violence then, much less that imposing YOUR moral framework on ANOTHER PERSON’S BODY (hmmm, doesn’t that push it into the realm of the physical then?) is a form of psychological violence. It must be nice to have such a simplistic worldview, I mean, unless you’re on the receiving end of any of those things.

        If we went by the philosophy that things were only violent to women if they were legally recognized as such,there would have never been the initial push to change legislature regarding marital rape or domestic violence (of any type) in the first place. Not to mention the fight to legalize abortion in the first place.

        There are all kinds of violence that don’t involve blows, but hey, maybe if we just keep repeating it’s for the good of the state and the institution…