Police have announced an arrest in yesterday’s murder of Wichita, Kansas, Dr. George Tiller. Apparently, the shooter is an anti-abortion Christian who approved of assassinating abortion doctors (sources: New York Times, Kansas City Star). If true, this is yet another act of religious terrorism in the United States.
According to a 1995 article in the Washington Post, a rundown of recent attacks match the tactics in an Army of God manual that police officers found buried in the yard of the Oregon woman convicted of shooting Dr. Tiller the first time in 1993. The manual states: “Annihilating abortuaries is our purest form of worship” and it gives explicit instructions for home-brewing plastic explosives, fashioning detonators, deactivating alarm systems, and cutting phone, gas and water lines.
From 1983 to 1995, there were 123 cases of arson, 37 bombings in 33 states, with over 1,500 cases of stalking, assault, sabotage and burglary (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and medical clinics). Of the 49 people prosecuted, all expressed anti-abortion views.
At the Women’s Pavilion Clinic in South Bend, Indiana, someone hacked holes in the roof with an ax, shot out the windows and sent repeated death threats to a staff gynecologist. A group called the Lambs of Christ regularly barricaded the doors and blockaded the driveway, despite repeated arrests. According to the Post, on Mother’s Day 1993, “someone connected a hose to the clinic’s outdoor spigot and fed it through the door’s mail slot, flooding the clinic’s entry room. The person or persons then poured in butyric acid, a nearly indelible substance that smells like feces and vomit and becomes more potent in water. The clinic had to shut down for 7 1/2 weeks to get rid of the smell.” The gynecologist told the Post that, after he was shot at as he drove home from work: “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. I’m realistic enough.”
An anti-abortionist fired 23 shots at the Hillcrest Clinic in Norfolk, Virginia in 1994. The clinic had been damaged by arson ten years earlier and bombed in 1985.
In 1993, a Planned Parenthood clinic in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a clinic which does not perform abortions, was attacked by an arsonist.
That same year, a Brooklyn, New York, clinic was targeted with two Molotov cocktails, and a Bakersfield, California, clinic sustained $ 1.4 million in arson damages.
In 1994, Paul D. Hill shot two people to death at a Pensacola, Florida, clinic.
A nurse and clinic director in Little Rock, Arkansas, arrived home to find her neighborhood was papered with fliers calling her a “death camp worker.”
Remember, that information was reported in the Post in 1995. The violent religious crusade against a woman’s right to an abortion is likely to get worse under the religious President Obama, who waffled on abortion in yesterday’s statement on Dr. Tiller’s murder, describing a woman’s right to abortion as a “difficult” issue. The President, a Christian who opposes gay marriage, invited an anti-gay, anti-abortion preacher to speak at his inauguration in January.
For an excellent primer on the legal philosophy of a woman’s right to an abortion, read this examination by The Association for Objective Law (TAFOL) which specifically addresses the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. In the meantime, it remains unknown whether Obama’s Catholic Supreme Court nominee, self-described “latina” Sonia Sotomayor, supports the right to abortion.