Before the first murder of an abortion doctor, in 1993, the idea of activists appearing on national television to defend such crimes was unimaginable. Six more murders later, however, extremists can be seen on news and talk shows, wearing suits and ties, explaining that assassination is a credible political tactic— at least where abortion is concerned.
The following activists have aggressively promoted pro-violence views— using the Internet, in their own newsletters, and in the mainstream media. They are unquestionably exercising their First Amendment rights to free speech, but does their inflammatory rhetoric also incite those responsible for the murder and maiming of abortion clinic workers?
Editor, Capital Area News; Lutheran Reformation pastor
Spent 46 months in prison in the 1980s for abortion clinic bombings. Wrote A Time to Kill, which advocates the murder of abortion doctors. Organizes annual banquet to honor activists who commit antiabortion crimes. Profiled in USA Today and The Washington Post. Touted Army of God manual on ABC’s Nightline after the Birmingham bombing in January.
Hosts Web site containing the Nuremberg Files, which includes abortion doctors’ home addresses and photographs. Advises other antiabortion extremists on setting up Web sites. Founder of the Creator’s Rights Party. Defended the Nuremberg Files on CNN and CNBC after slaying of New York doctor Barnett Slepian last month.
C. Roy McMillan
Executive director, Christian Action Group; an American Coalition of Life Activists (ACLA) leader
Married to obstetrician who once performed abortions. Longtime friend of Paul Hill. Advocated sniper shootings of abortion doctors in The New York Times in 1994, nine days before first sniper attack in Canada. Told Time in 1995: “It wouldn’t bother me if every abortionist in the country today fell dead from a bullet.”
Des Moines, Iowa
Publisher, Prayer & Action News; music store owner
Fired from job as journalist at suburban newspaper after publishing Army of God manual in Prayer & Action News. Printed cartoons and stories by Shelley Shannon, who is in prison for the attempted murder of an abortion doctor. Published a fictional tale about Army of God members bombing Florida clinics shortly before Florida clinics were hit by butyric acid in May.
Director, Pro-Life Virginia
Publicly praised John Salvi after he killed two clinic workers in 1994. Frequents Internet bulletin boards and posts messages like: “Praise the Lord Jesus, the Army of God strikes again!” Called sniper who killed Slepian a “hero” on ABC’s World News Tonight.
Father David Trosch
Catholic priest; president of Life Enterprises Unlimited
Suspended from parish in 1993 after trying unsuccessfully to publish a newspaper ad urging that abortion doctors be killed. Promoted views on Geraldo, CNN, and NBC’s Today Show. Publishes Web site featuring gory fetus photos and a cartoon of a scale that balances the number of clinic workers killed against the number of “aborted human beings.”
Founder of Rescue America; an ACLA leader
Arrested more than 100 times for antiabortion activities. Solicited donations for Michael Griffin after Griffin committed the first murder of an abortion doctor, David Gunn, in 1993. Praised first sniper shooting of doctor on Canadian radio in 1994, several days after attack.
Inmate, Florida State Prison
Applauded the 1993 murder of David Gunn on Donahue and ABC’s Nightline. Killed abortion doctor and his volunteer escort in 1994. Severely injured another escort. Wrote “Why I Shot an Abortionist,” an essay that is now on an antiabortion Web site. Awaiting execution on death row.
Publisher, Life Advocate magazine; cofounder, Advocate for Life Ministries; cofounder, ACLA
Arrested more than 50 times for antiabortion activities. Published Bray’s A Time to Kill. Stated on ABC’s World News Tonight in 1995: “I think anyone who wanted to do violence can simply open a telephone book to the abortion section in any major city and find many abortionists listed.”
Research: Jennifer Del Medico
photo credits: BRAY: H. DARR BEISER/USA TODAY; MCMILLAN, SPITZ: AP/WIDE WORLD; TRESHMAN: PATRICK SANDOR/BALTIMORE SUN
One of four articles in our The Terrorist Campaign Against Abortion feature.