Domestic terrorists ignored

July 7, 2005

A good piece in the PB Post on the state of abortions in Florida. The article touches briefly on the fact that big cities are becoming the only places where obtaining an abortion is possible. This puts an incredible burden on rural dwellers who must take time off of work, possibly putting their job at risk, to travel across the state, bearing the cost of transportation and hotels and being forced to undergo the procedure away from the support of family and friends.

Florida has lost over 50 percent of its licensed abortion providers since 1990.

You should really read the whole piece and not just the excerpts here about terrorism – I’ve left out huge swaths of information.

Florida ‘hot spot’ for foes of abortion

Kathy Spillar, executive vice president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, acknowledged that the drop of violent attacks is significant. In the mid-1990s, 52 percent of clinics reported violent attacks, that number dropped to about 23 percent during the last several years. But, she said, it is still way too high.

“Imagine if 23 percent of banks were being robbed,” Spillar said. “We would declare a state of emergency.”

But, she said, because the attacks are aimed at clinics that provide health care for women the ongoing violence isn’t taken seriously.

For years, she said, her organization has pushed for the FBI to classify the attacks as domestic terrorism.

“Too often law enforcement wants to portray it as an isolated incident,” Spillar said. “But this is terrorism. It’s targeted and it’s meant to terrorize. If you don’t go after the network that is recruiting, training and funding these extremists, you’ll never get to the bottom of it.”

Florida clinics are clearly a target. She said it’s telling that no arrests have been made in connection with arsonists that hit three Florida clinics, including ones in Lake Worth and Fort Pierce.

And though Planned Parenthood notes that it has not crumbled under pressure and has closed no clinics that provide abortion during the past decade, other abortion providers are extremely wary of even talking about it.

Few clinic owners would comment for this story. One asked, “Pretend I fell off the face of this earth.” She didn’t want protesters to think she’s “running scared, but these people aren’t going to let you live.”

Others freely discussed security measures, such as cameras and security patrols, but declined to give out their names.

Dr. Ali Azima, who performed abortions at the Venice Women’s Health Clinic when it was firebombed and destroyed in 1993, says he’s since had his car vandalized and his name placed on a hit list-style Web site.

“You would not believe how many car tires I’ve had to buy,” he said Wednesday. “You can be pro-life if you want to be, but you can’t harass people and set fires.”

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