"Shock, outrage and sorrow do not begin to describe the range of emotional reactions to the murders and attempted murders in Brookline, Massachusetts this morning.
"Even as we mourn the dead and pray for the recovery of those injured, the overwhelming reaction is anger that this climate of hatred, fear, and genuine terrorism has been allowed to grow unchallenged -- even encouraged -- by those who say that they abhor violence.
"The National Right to Life Committee, Pro-Life Action League, Operation Rescue, and others of their ilk are responsible for these shootings -- whether by direct provocation or by their continued use of inflammatory rhetoric (for example, repeatedly referring to doctors as murderers and babykillers) designed to provoke this kind of violence.
"The Catholic Church leadership also bears responsibility for the actions of this killer. By retaining David Trosch in the priesthood, despite his repeated public exhortations that abortion clinic doctors and employees should be killed, the church hierarchy has given tacit approval to his murderous theology. Trosch, in an open letter, also warned that members of NOW and Planned Parenthood would be killed because of their support of abortion rights.
"Early this year, the U. S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that NOW could proceed with the only massive litigation designed to expose and stop the violent anti-abortion conspiracy -- NOW v. Scheidler -- a lawsuit brought by NOW under the powerful federal anti-racketeering (RICO) laws against the Pro-Life Action League, Operation Rescue, and others. These tragic events in Massachusetts sadly make the case again for a national strategy, including legislation and law enforcement action, to eliminate violence at medical clinics.
Part of that strategy was the passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which was signed into law last year. But despite four murders of abortion doctors in the past two years, the anti-abortion forces in Congress have already said that they will attempt to weaken the FACE Act -- the only federal law that addresses this campaign of violence and intimidation.
"We again call on President Clinton and Attorney General Reno to declare these to be acts of domestic terrorism, and bring to bear the full resources of the Justice Department, through the FBI and its domestic terrorism unit, to root out the national conspiracy that has coordinated and backed this reign of terror. How many more must die before this is taken seriously by our government?"
"Today, violence devastated our community when an anti-abortion fanatic opened fire on women and men in two local abortion clinics. These killings tell us that women are not safe. Despite federal and state laws, court decisions and popular opinion supporting our rights, we are kept from exercising our basic right to abortion and health care by extremists who are willing to take the lives of women and men who support us.
"Something must be done. In Massachusetts, that will mean using local, state and federal resources to ensure women's safety at health clinics throughout the state. And it will mean making sure that local teaching hospitals take their jobs seriously and teach medical students how to perform abortions so that providers are available for these needed services. Federally, that will mean fighting right wing attempts to eviscerate the Federal Access to Clinic Entrances Act, so that funds are available to protect women and men in danger from anti-abortion extremism.
"We call on our local, state and federal officials to take this threat seriously and act swiftly for all women's safety."