Giuliani, Media & Domestic Terrorism: Clinic Violence Not Included

Let me say from the outset that I think the concept of terrorism as it has been deployed since 9/11 is hyperbolic and aimed less at the everyday security of Americans and more at causing fear and paranoia.  That’s not to say that the U.S. doesn’t have legitimate security concerns–largley, I think, because of our flawed foriegn policy, but that is a subject for another post.

In any case, the National Security/Terrorism debate returned to the forefront in the wake of an attempted attack Christmas Day.  Since then, several wing-nuts have come out against President Obama, claiming that he is failing to protect us from Domestic Terrorism.

In one particularly noteworthy interview, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani claimed that, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.”  Excuse me?  Of course, the guy that was Mayor of New York City wouldn’t forget about the attack on the World Trade Center, would he?  Clearly he misspoke.  But as the *awesome* fact-checking website, Politifact.org pointed out, even if he meant to say that there wern’t any attacks under Bush since 9/11, he would still be wrong.
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Scott Roeder Has Friends in Low Places

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Scott Roeder, the man accused of killing Dr. George Tiller, has friends in low places. Despite the public claims from Operation Rescue that Scott Roeder wasn’t associated with the group, Roeder has been receiving letters in jail from all kinds of right wing whack jobs. The FBI is reportedly investigating Roeder’s mail and the list of visitors he has been receiving to see if Roeder acted alone, or he was part of a larger anti-abortion conspiracy. [Read more...]

Scott Roeder’s Place in the Anti-Choice Movement

A judge declared at a Tuesday hearing that there is enough evidence against Scott Roeder to move forward to trial. Roeder is accused of killing Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider from Kansas. As I noted yesterday, Roeder is unfortunately not the first person to murder an abortion provider. Paul Hill assassinated Dr. James Britton in 1994. Dr. Britton was a health care provider and The Ladies Center in Pensacola, Florida. A fellow health care provider from the same clinic, Dr. David Gunn, was murdered by Michael Griffin in 1993. Here’s a Newsweek article from 1998 about Dr. Gunn’s assassination.

Michael Griffin fervently believed that an accidental encounter he had with abortion doctor David Gunn was a sign from God. On the morning of March 5,1993, Griffin, a 31-year-old factory worker in Pensacola, Florida, and a zealous follower of local anti-abortion reader John Burt, pulled into a Pensacola Exxon station, and there was Gunn. The doctor, well known to anti-abortion activists in the area, was sitting in his car drinking coffee and reading a newspaper before heading to work at The Ladies Center, the local clinic that had so often served as ground zero for the antiabortion movement in the South.

“I thought it was Providence,” Griffin now says, revealing his meeting with Gunn for the first time in an exclusive prison interview. “I knew he was getting ready to go kill children that day. I asked the Lord what he wanted me to do. And he told me to tell him that he had one more chance. [Read more...]

Health Care Reform Round Up

280There’s so much to say about health care reform. Rather than doing one mammoth post, I thought it would be better to just do a quick hit on several aspects of the health care debate.

Here’s a great article from The American Prospect about midwives. Miriam Perez notes:

Childbirth is among the top five causes for hospitalization, and the No. 1 cause for women. According to Childbirth Connection, Cesarean section is the most common operating-room procedure, and in 2009 the C-section rate hit an all-time high according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at 31.8 percent of all births. These rates account, in part, for the increasing cost of maternity care in the U.S. Maternal and newborn charges totaled $86 billion in 2006, 45 percent of which was paid for by Medicaid. The federal government is already footing a huge portion of the U.S.’ maternity-care bill, and these midwives think they can help reduce costs significantly, and not just for low-income women.

It isn’t coincidental that we’re seeing this kind of progress for CPMs during an economic downturn. Midwives like Bartlett are often the only option for pregnant women who are underinsured, as many in her state are. She’s seen a growth in her midwifery practice in recent years, and many of the women who come to her fall between the gap of the privately insured and those who qualify for Medicaid. These women choose to enlist Bartlett’s services (a bargain at around $3,000) rather than pay out of pocket for a hospital birth (around $8,500) or even the high deductible for their insurance plan.

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Watch List: Lake of Fire

lakeoffirepostersm11Lake of Fire” is a documentary by Tony Kaye about the radical anti-choice movement. He looks at the history of violence against abortion providers and provides a very frightening view of the domestic terrorists who threaten women’s access to reproductive health care.

The film was released in 2006 and opens with a focus on the passage of a South Dakota law that outlawed abortion. HB 1215 was signed into law by South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds in March of 2006. The legislation prohibits abortion under any circumstance, including rape and incest. The only exception is to protect the life of the mother. The health of the mother is not considered in the exception process. The intent of the bill’s sponsors was to have the law questioned before the Supreme Court. They were hoping that George Bush would have had a third justice nominated to the Supreme Court so that the case would have overturned Roe v. Wade.

South Dakota’s anti-abortion law did not pass in a vacuum. “Lake of Fire” traces the emergence of the militant anti-abortion movement in the US, beginning with a 1993 anti-choice demonstration on the National Mall in Washington, DC that has become an annual event each year on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. White crosses are staked into the lawn. I assume the protesters intend these crosses to represent the babies that are killed each year by abortion. The organizers of the protest say that this should be “a daily event,” and that they are honoring “God’s laws.” [Read more...]

The Anti-Choice Movement Is Not “Pro-Life”

roeder540This week’s murder of Dr. George Tiller is a tragic reminder that the extreme right wing vigilantes who call themselves “pro-life” are anything but that. Scott Roeder was arrested on Monday in Kansas for shooting and killing Dr. Tiller while Tiller was at church. Roeder was also charged with aggravated assault for injuring two people who attempted to defend Dr. Tiller. If Roeder is “pro-life,” then we are living in bizarro world.

Other abortion providers are likely to become the victims of domestic terrorism. NPR provided some excellent coverage of this on Tuesday’s All Things Considered.

Dr. Warren Hern says he has been getting threats for decades. Hern and Tiller were friends, and like Tiller, Hern performs third-trimester abortions.

“I think there has never been a time it has stopped, but just because things seemed a little quiet never meant to me that we were out of danger,” Hern says. “They are just waiting for the right opportunity. . .” [Read more...]