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 a writer and advocate focusing on race, gender, and sexual and reproductive rights. In addition to serving as an Executive Director at Feministing, Lori is the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Lori has previously worked at the United Nations Foundation, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Human Rights Watch, and has written for a host of print and digital properties including Rookie Magazine, The Grio, and the New York Times Magazine. She regularly appears on radio and television, and has spoken at college campuses across the U.S. about topics like the politics of black hair, transnational movement building, and the undercover feminism of Nicki Minaj. In 2014, she was named to The Root 100 list of the nation's most influential African Americans, and to the Forbes Magazine list of the "30 Under 30" successful people in media.

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

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