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Home-Grown Terrorism: Abortion Clinic Attacks

June 28, 1986

Earlier this month the 48th terrorist attack in the form of a bombing carried out by American home-grown terrorists against other Americans was carried out and resulted in extensive damage to private property and only by chance avoided death or injury to the intended recipients of the message of terror.

The damage was to a health-care facility operating within the law of the land. The purpose of the attack was to terrify the staff of the facility into ceasing the performance of legal abortions.

If we can define terrorism as the commission of violent acts in order to force people to change their behavior out of fear, and I think few would argue with that definition, then these 48 bombings of facilities where abortions are being performed qualify for that label as surely as any of the incidents whose perpetrators have been warned that "they can run, but they can't hide."

Where is the call to arms to teach these terrorists the lesson they can't get away with it. Very few in the Fourth Estate even found this particular terrorist bombing newsworthy. I only heard it mentioned and the victim interviewed on National Public Radio. It appears to have been ignored by the rest of the news media.

I find it hard to follow the logic of our anti-terrorist policy as it appears to be highly selective and in a rather complex way at that. It seems that some terrorist acts call for powerful military attacks against foreign nations in the absence of a state of war, some call for the silent treatment, and some even call for assistance and the perpetrators converted from terrorists to freedom fighters. I'm getting quite confused.

Is it the nature of the cause that motivates the terrorist to commit his violence that qualifies him for that title? Is it his choice of victim? Is it the size of his bomb? I wish one of the many "experts on terrorism" that are emerging in such numbers lately would clarify these questions.

It is not high irony that the day after the bombing the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the right of the victims of the attack to offer the services they render to those who seek them?


Redondo Beach

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