Courage in the Face of Terror: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism

Vanessa C. Adriance in Ms Magazine:

Crosshairs_fullLIVING IN THE CROSSHAIRS exposes the harrowing reality facing abortion providers in the U.S. To the uninitiated, that reality is shocking: a life of constant harassment and stalking, of hate mail and cyber-bullying and criminal trespass at their homes, of needing to don a disguise and bulletproof vest and do evasive maneuvers on the drive to work. Providing legal, safe abortions—or even working as a security guard or volunteer in a clinic that does so—means being the target of relentless and terrifying criminal acts.

Since 1993, eight doctors and clinic workers have been murdered; many others have been assaulted and maimed. Clinics have been burned down, providers’ children have been intimidated at school and doctors’ photos and names have appeared on WANTED posters distributed in their neighborhoods. It’s impossible to read this book without marveling at the courage and stamina these people exhibit in continuing to offer abortion care. Law professor David Cohen and attorney Krysten Connon vividly illustrate the impact of this nationwide campaign of terror on its victims. A physician who helps women needing abortions in the mid-Atlantic and one South Atlantic state remembers hearing of the 1998 murder of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian, shot by a sniper through the window of his kitchen in Buffalo, New York: “I’m on the phone, and I’m probably starting to shake a little bit. Because we all have windows in our home…at that point I got on my belly and crawled around my home…Someone was out there, and we didn’t know who it was.” Kitchen, workplace—to extremists, no place is sacred. Providers’ elderly parents have been tormented in their nursing homes. In 2009, Dr. George Tiller, a prominent provider who had long been a target of the extremists, was shot in the head on a Sunday morning inside his Wichita church’s foyer, where he had just finished his duties as an usher. Even children trick-or-treating at a provider’s home on Halloween have been harassed.

More here.