I like to celebrate New Year’s day with family, reflecting over the past year and imagining what the coming year will bring. It is a time of peace and tranquility and excitement. Apparently, anti-choice extremist Bobby Joe Rogers and I don’t share this tradition.
Rogers celebrated 2012 by setting fire to an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida. Luckily, no one was hurt in the fire, but it gutted the clinic and caused roughly $300,000 worth of damage.
Thankfully, members of the community saw something and said something, leading to his arrest today. According to the Associated Press,
Bobby Joe Rogers of Tuscaloosa was charged with violating federal explosives laws and is being held at the Escambia County Jail pending indictment, the state fire marshal’s office said. It was not immediately known if he had a lawyer. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Federal explosive laws are all good and everything, but what about concurrently charging him with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act? This law “forbids the use of ‘force, threat of force or physical obstruction’ to prevent someone from providing or receiving reproductive health services” (for more info, see the National Abortion Federation). Charging Rogers with violating the FACE Act would send the message that acts targeting abortion clinics are never acceptable and that the safety of women seeking abortions, as well as clinic staff, is valued.
The FACE Act exists not because of a few isolated incidents, but because clinic violence is unfortunately an increasingly used tactic by anti-choice extremists. According to NARAL,
Since 1993, eight clinic workers – including four doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard – have been murdered in the United States. Seventeen attempted murders have also occurred since 1991. In fact, opponents of choice have directed more than 6,100 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since 1977, including bombings, arsons, death threats, kidnappings, and assaults, as well as more than 156,000 reported acts of disruption, including bomb threats and harassing calls.
I’m always stumped by those self-proclaimed “pro-lifers” who somehow don’t find it morally incongruous to kill, maim and harm in the name of their “pro-life” cause. They, too, must be held accountable for their actions. Their belief system does not put them above the law, no more than mine does.