The Fall of Roe…The Rest of the Story

Letter to the editor/other voices July 18, 2022

by Lynn Wenzel

I am writing to respond to Terry McLaughlin’s July 16, 2022 article entitled “Pro-Life Centers Help”, which bemoans the 51 reported attacks on what she calls “pregnancy resource centers” nationwide since early May of this year, apparently perpetrated by  “pro-abortion extremists”.
Ms. McLaughlin apparently is unaware of the ongoing and escalating violence against Womens’ Reproductive Health Clinics nationwide, some of which have provided abortions since 1977.  If one looks at the numbers and types of violence in comparison, the issue of who is actually perpetrating threats becomes quite clear.
For example, between 1997-2016, there have been 11 murders of abortion clinic staff, from doctors, clinic employees, a clinic escort, a security guard and a police officer by anti-choice zealots at our nation’s clinics.  The graffiti and vandalism that Ms. McLaughlin decries pale in comparison.
In addition, since 2016, violence by anti-abortion extremists has escalated dramatically.  Just assault and battery arrests went from 15 in 2018, to 24 in 2019 to 54 in 2020 to 123 in 2021, an 830% increase.
Burglaries, stalking, arson, planting of hoax devices, death threats, including mass shooting threats, attempted bombings, vandalism, invasions, blockades, and hate mail/internet harassment and harassing phone calls all increased by huge margins over that six-year period.  You can check out the actual statistics here:  https://5aa1b2xfmfh2e2mk03kk8rsx-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021_NAF_VD_Stats_Final.pdf
Does Ms. McLaughlin condone the massive amount of violence perpetrated by anti-abortion zealots?   61% of Americans who believe that abortion should be legal in most or all cases, and the 83% of us who believe that abortion should at the very least be legal in cases of rape, incest, or danger to woman’s life do not believe in violence, or that pro-choice protests should include vandalism and graffiti against “Crisis Pregnancy Centers”.
“Crisis Pregnancy Centers” are NOT unbiased medical providers, and do NOT deliver unbiased medical services, regardless of who staffs them and who functions as medical director.  Locally and featured prominently in Ms. McLaughlin’s article, the disclosure about their services:reads:  “’LivingWell Medical Clinic does not offer annual exams, birth control devices, mid-life services, abortion services or referrals, mammograms or breast screenings, in-vitro fertilization services, pre or post-natal care, treatment of infertility, or treatment of reproductive tract infections…”.
The fact that Livingwell supports women who have made a decision to carry their pregnancy to term is admirable and they should be commended for that.  But to represent them as a provider of and supporter of “all options”, is not accurate, as it is also inaccurate to say that women who seek care at Clinics that provide abortion are told that “abortion is their only option”.  Nothing could be further from the truth.
The pro-forma attack on Planned Parenthoods in the closing of Ms. McGlaughlin’s article predictable.  Planned Parenthood DOES provide actual women’t health care, which is the reason they receive government health services reimbursements and grants. They do not receive Federal reimbursement for abortion services.  As a result of the recent SCOTUS Dobbs decision, in large swaths of our country women will find themselves without reproductive healthcare at all.  That is the tragedy that no amount of free baby clothing will rectify.