Abortion Clinic Protests

Is violence changing the abortion debate?


The recent wave of bombings, shootings and blockades against abortion providers has put anti-abortion activists on the defensive. Most of the movement's protesters and “sidewalk counselors” behave peacefully. But high-profile events such as the murders of clinic staff in Florida and Massachusetts have prompted stepped up use of a tough, new federal law protecting access to clinics, as well as a federal probe into a possible conspiracy by anti-abortion protesters. Abortion rights activists lament the closing of clinics and the declining number of abortion doctors, blaming the protesters' “inflammatory” rhetoric and tactics. Anti-abortion groups reply that their cause shouldn't suffer because of the actions of a violent fringe, and that political and cultural trends favor the effort to ban abortion.

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