Eve also linked to an article by US Rep. John Hostettler of Indiana, who (pissed off by an episode of Law and Order) is trying to argue that supporters of abortion rights have committed more acts of violence than opponents of abortion rights. He starts out by listing examples that have nothing to do with abortion, such as a doctor who provides abortions murdering his wife. (I think it’s indicative of Hostettler’s worldview that he refers to such doctors as “abortionists,” as if their committing that one act somehow defines their entire professional careers.) This is hardly fair or useful. If every murder committed for any reason is to be counted in such a fashion, then it would hardly be surprising if we were to find more murders in the pro-abortion-rights column, since most Americans support some form of abortion rights. If we were to discover that the pilots of the planes that hit the World Trade Center all thought abortion should be criminalized, would we then include the 3,000 people who died in that event as victims of anti-abortion violence? I certainly wouldn’t.
Anyway, let’s look at some numbers. Hostettler’s article lists two cases of outright intentional murder by abortion providers, neither having anything to do with abortion, one case of an abortion-providing doctor molesting patients. He also lists three cases of doctors who’ve accidentally killed their patients through incompetence, and claims there are “countless” more. He mentions the weird case of Allan Zarkin, a doctor who carved his initials into a patient’s body after performing a Caesarean section. Then he lists the cases that might actually be relevant to his case: three men who killed women for refusing to get abortions, and one case where a pro-abortion-rights activist (Eileen Orstein Janezic) killed an anti-abortion-rights minister (Jerry Simon). So, by my reckoning Hostettler’s got four cases; by his own he’s got 11 (plus the nebulous “countless”).
The other side of the argument has better documentation. According to the National Abortion Federation, which keeps statistics , opponents of abortion rights have committed the following acts of violence against abortion providers during the years 1977-2002:
That’s 537 violent crimes against abortion providers. And I’m not even counting the crimes which didn’t result in actual attempts of violence against people — the 981 acts of vandalism, the 654 anthrax threats, the 352 death threats, the 9,519 harassing calls and letters, etc. And these aren’t estimates, these are actual reported incidents; there may be many more unreported incidents. And the murders, bombings, and arson were cases classified as such by law enforcement authorities — this tally doesn’t include inconclusive or accidental cases.