Explosions near abortuaries in three U.S. cities in late January led to the usual denunciation of “anti-abortion” violence despite a lack of evidence the pro-lifers were in any way involved in the blasts.
A January 16 explosion damaged a building housing the Atlanta Northside Family Planning Services, a clinic where abortions are performed, in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs.
About an hour later, at least six people were injured when a second blast occurred, apparently in a trash dumpster located near the building.
Four days later, the Reproductive Services clinic in Tulsa, Oklahoma was firebombed. The clinic closed at the time of the bombing and there were no injuries reported.
And on January 22, the 24th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision which legalized abortion in the U.S., a small device exploded outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in downtown Washington. The incident took place near the Mayflower Hotel where Hilary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper, were to address a gathering of the National Abortion Rights Action League.
The Washington device turned out to be no more powerful than a firecracker. It was found near a street lamp by a hotel employee.
The cause of the Atlanta explosions was not known “but it was not natural” said Lt. C.C. Cass of the Fulton County Police.
Cass said the blast damaged plate glass windows in the building and “caused smoke.” Aerial television pictures from the scene showed debris scattered along the ground.
Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell ordered police to step up security at other clinics in the Atlanta area. The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms joined local officials in the investigation. Later investigation however, revealed the Atlanta bombing may not have been abortion-related.
The Catholic World News Service reported January 17 that federal investigators not get “locked in on the clinic” as a target. Investigators are looking into any connection with the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in the summer.
Meanwhile, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was scheduled to take over investigation of the Tulsa bombing. To date, police have no suspects and no one has claimed responsibility. The same Tulsa abortuary was firebombed on New Year’s day.
However, Washington police said January 22 there was no evidence linking the explosion in that city to the abortion controversy.
After the Atlanta bombings, U.S. President Bill Clinton released a statement which assumed the attack was part of a violent campaign against abortuaries.
The timing of the explosions in Atlanta and Tulsa is close to the January 22 anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision which legalized abortion in the U.S.
“Anyone who brings violence against a woman trying to exercise her constitutional rights is committing an act of terror,” Clinton said. “Nobody has a right to use violence in America to advance their own convictions over the rights of others.”
Pro-abortion supporters, including officials with the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, immediately seized on news of the bombings for an attack on the entire right to life movement. At the time of the Atlanta explosions, Planned parenthood was participating in a joint press conference with the Feminist Majority Foundation and the National Abortion Federation provide reporters with an overview of anti- abortion violence in 1996.
Some pro-life supporters noted that the timing of the Atlanta bombings would add credence to Planned Parenthood charges. An item distributed by the Pro-Life News Canada suggests the possibility of pro-abortion supporters actually planting the Atlanta bombs.
“The question is, why would any pro-lifer plant two explosive devices a week before the annual March for Life and Rally in Washington, D.C. (January 22),” the article says. “…Attacks on clinics are serious and long-term bad press for the pro-life movement, as they allow pro-aborts and like-minded journalists to label all pro-lifers, including pro-life politicians as extremist zealots, violent, deranged, and so on.”
The author suggests the bombings could represent the desperate actions of radical pro-abortionists who fear the tide may be turning against them.
“Pro-abortionists, not pro-lifers, are the ones who are running scared,” the report concludes.
“In this bombing event, pro-aborts have everything to gain, and pro-lifers have everything to lose, by the bombing. Investigators should follow this motive trail to see where it leads.”
The explosions have served to sensitive the pro-life community to the importance of lawful, non-violent action to combat abortion. Pro-life leaders are required to drive home this message with each new abortuary attack.