Picture of Emily Lyons

APAC Responds to the Bombing of the Abortion Clinic in Birmingham

The bomb which severely injured Emily Lyons and killed Birmingham police officer Robert Sanderson is yet another tragic example of domestic terrorism. The hatred and anger which fuels this terrorism is insprired by the anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-government rhetoric of the overlapping militia movements and the so-called "pro-life" movement. As Robert Sanderson was buried on February 2, 1998, letters were received by news agencies claiming responsibility for the bombing. The letters were signed by "The Army of God" - the same group which claimed responsibility for two of the Atlanta bombings which occurred a year ago (the Sandy Springs abortion clinic bombing and the bombing of a predominantly gay nightclub).

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Members of the Atlanta Pro-Choice Action Committee wrote a statement regarding the bombing which was sent to the local newspapers as a letter to the editor:

After Roe vs. Wade was passed 25 years ago, anti-choice people first tried to persuade the public that American women should not have sovereignty over their own bodies. Failing this, "pro-lifers" then began a two-prong attack on abortion rights: (1) they attempted to place legal barriers and conditions to prevent women access to services, and (2) they initiated a reign of terror on abortion clinics with blockades, invasions and vandalism, while consistently attempting to incite gullible, unstable followers to escalate the violence with acts of arson, bombings and even murder.

We, the members of Atlanta Pro-choice Action Committee (APAC), provide volunteer escorts to help women and their companions enter and exit Atlanta clinics without undue harassment by anti-abortion protesters. We have been providing this community service for nine years. Week in and week out we hear the inflammatory language of the "pro-life" people and have seen them use lies and intimidation to try to prevent women from entering the clinics. We are sick and tired of the hypocrisy of these people who always claim to be so surprised and shocked after the violence occurs. While "pro-life" leaders issue statements in an attempt to distance their movement from the Birmingham bombing, these groups take no responsibility for the fact that their rhetoric encourages violence against clinics and staff. The day after the bombing in Birmingham, some anti-abortion protesters at Atlanta clinics even had the audacity to allege that the Birmingham clinic, and other clinics, were bombed by their own staff members.

Still today, somewhere in the world a woman dies every 3 minutes from an illegal abortion. We will never go back to that in this country. We are committed to access for all women to safe and legal abortion and other reproductive services. We in the pro-choice movement believe that women have the capability, intelligence and morality to make their own personal reproductive decisions. Such personal decisions cannot be made by the government, by terrorists, nor by strangers on the street.

Atlanta Pro-choice Action Committee
PO Box 57104
Atlanta, GA 30343

February 2, 1998