Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To abortion providers, I say thank you

Today is National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers. (Good post from last year about this day here.)

Thank you to the doctors, nurses, physicians assistants, other medical staff, escorts, volunteers, clinic workers, abortion providers in-training, counselors, security and everyone else involved in giving women full access to comprehensive reproductive health care. I can't imagine what some (all?) of you go through every single day, and I believe you continue to do it because you believe in what you're doing. Thank you for that.

Thank you for respecting and trusting women.

Thank you to those who have been injured because of their job, and to those who lost their lives because of their job. From Wikipedia:

Murders
In the U.S., violence directed toward abortion providers has killed at least eight people, including four doctors, two clinic employees, a security guard, and a clinic escort.
  • March 10, 1993: Dr. David Gunn of Pensacola, Florida was fatally shot during a protest. He had been the subject of wanted-style posters distributed by Operation Rescue in the summer of 1992. Michael F. Griffin was found guilty of Dr. Gunn's murder and was sentenced to life in prison.
  • August 21, 1993 Dr. George Patterson, was shot and killed in Mobile, Alabama, but it is uncertain whether his death was the direct result of his profession or rather a robbery.
  • July 29, 1994: Dr. John Britton and James Barrett, a clinic escort, were both shot to death outside of another facility in Pensacola. Rev. Paul Jennings Hill was charged with the killings. Hill received a death sentence and was executed September 3, 2003.
  • December 30, 1994: Two receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, were killed in two clinic attacks in Brookline, Massachusetts. John Salvi, who prior to his arrest was distributing pamphlets from Human Life International, was arrested and confessed to the killings. He died in prison and guards found his body under his bed with a plastic garbage bag tied around his head. Salvi had also confessed to a non-lethal attack in Norfolk, Virginia days before the Brookline killings.
  • January 29, 1998: Robert Sanderson, an off-duty police officer who worked as a security guard at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, was killed when his workplace was bombed. Eric Robert Rudolph, who was also responsible for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing, was charged with the crime and received two life sentences as a result.
  • October 23, 1998: Dr. Barnett Slepian was shot to death at his home in Amherst, New York. His was the last in a series of similar shootings against providers in Canada and northern New York state which were all likely committed by James Kopp. Kopp was convicted of Dr. Slepian's murder after finally being apprehended in France in 2001.
  • May 31, 2009: Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed as he served as an usher at his church in Wichita, Kansas.
Attempted murder, assault, and threats
According to statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers. Attempted murders in the U.S. included:
  • August 19, 1993: Dr. George Tiller was shot outside of an abortion facility in Wichita, Kansas. Shelley Shannon was charged with the crime and received an 11-year prison sentence (20 years were later added for arson and acid attacks on clinics).
  • July 29, 1994: June Barret was shot in the same attack which claimed the lives of James Barrett, her husband, and Dr. John Britton.
  • December 30, 1994: Five individuals were wounded in the shootings which killed Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols.
  • October 28, 1997: Dr. David Gandell of Rochester, New York was injured by flying glass when a shot was fired through the window of his home.
  • January 29, 1998: Emily Lyons, a nurse, was severely injured, and lost an eye, in the bombing which also killed Robert Sanderson.
Anthrax threats
The first hoax letters claiming to contain anthrax were mailed to U.S. clinics in October 1998, a few days after the Slepian shooting; since then, there have been 655 such bioterror threats made against abortion providers. None of the "anthrax" in these cases was real.
  • November 2001: After the genuine 2001 anthrax attacks, Clayton Waagner mailed hoax letters containing a white powder to 554 clinics. On December 3, 2003, Waagner was convicted of 51 charges relating to the anthrax scare.
Arson, bombing, and property crime
According to NAF, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, property crimes committed against abortion providers have included 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with butyric acid ("stink bombs"). The first clinic arson occurred in Oregon in March 1976 and the first bombing occurred in February 1978 in Ohio. More recent incidents have included:
  • December 25, 1984: An abortion clinic and two physicians' offices in Pensacola, Florida were bombed in the early morning of Christmas Day by a quartet of young people (Matt Goldsby, Jimmy Simmons, Kathy Simmons, Kaye Wiggins) who later called the bombings "a gift to Jesus on his birthday."
  • October 1999: Martin Uphoff set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, causing US $100 worth of damage. He was later sentenced to 60 months in prison.
  • May 28, 2000: An arson at a clinic in Concord, New Hampshire on resulted in damage estimated at US $20,000. The case remains unsolved.
  • September 30, 2000: A Catholic priest drove his car into the Northern Illinois Health Clinic after learning that the FDA had approved the drug RU-486. He pulled out an ax before being shot at by a security guard.
  • June 11, 2001: An unsolved bombing at a clinic in Tacoma, Washington destroyed a wall, resulting in US$6000 in damages.
  • July 4, 2005: A clinic Palm Beach, Florida was the target of an arson. The case remains open.
  • December 12, 2005: Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe threw a Molotov cocktail at a clinic in Shreveport, Louisiana. The device missed the building and no damage was caused. In August 2006, Hughes was sentenced to six years in prison, and Dunahoe to one year. Hughes claimed the bomb was a “memorial lamp” for an abortion she had had there.
  • September 13, 2006 David McMenemy of Rochester Hills, Michigan crashed his car into the Edgerton Women's Care Center in Davenport, Iowa. He then doused the lobby in gasoline and then started a fire. McMenemy committed these acts in the belief that the center was performing abortions, however Edgerton is not an abortion clinic.
  • April 25, 2007: A package left at a women's health clinic in Austin, Texas contained an explosive device capable of inflicting serious injury or death. A bomb squad detonated the device after evacuating the building. Paul Ross Evans (who had a criminal record for armed robbery and theft) was found guilty of the crime.
  • May 9, 2007: An unidentified person deliberately set fire to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • December 6, 2007: Chad Altman and Sergio Baca were arrested for the arson of Dr. Curtis Boyd's clinic in Albuquerque. Altman’s girlfriend had scheduled an appointment for an abortion at the clinic.
  • January 22, 2009 Matthew L. Derosia, 32, who was reported to have had a history of mental illness rammed a SUV into the front entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Try to stay safe out there, everyone. We need you!

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