“Vicious Attack On Pro-Lifer” May Not Have Been Attack On Pro-Lifer

Robin Marty

The discovery of a second homemade bomb incident has authorities wondering if "attack" was crime of convenience.

The Thomas Moore Society is chastising the police department of Kalispell, Montana for not “taking seriously” what the anti-abortion group is declaring a “vicious” attack on a pro-life protester performing a 40 Days for Life Prayer Vigil in front of a local reproductive health clinic.

KAJ18.com reports:

Organizers say the campaign is supposed to be a peaceful one, but on Thursday night at around 6:15, a homemade incendiary device was thrown at an elderly woman participating in the prayer on North Meridian Drive.

Mary Anne Hofmann says she heard an explosion behind her and turned around to discover a water bottle, that was on fire. No one was injured from the explosion and no one saw who threw the bomb or where it came from.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

Witnesses don’t believe the incident was taken seriously by authorities, claiming that no evidence was taken from the scene. Some believe the bomb was meant to intimidate them, but say it’s not going to scare them away from their cause.

But the clinic was not the only place to have a home made bombing attempt that day. According to Daily Interlake News:

Law enforcement officials are investigating two homemade explosive devices that were apparently thrown from a vehicle Thursday at two Kalispell locations, including one aimed at a pro-life prayer vigil.

No one was injured, though the devices — made up of an unknown chemical, a plastic bottle and aluminum foil — did explode.

According to the Kalispell Police Department, the first device was reported by an off-duty officer in front of a department store at Mountain View Plaza at 6:05 p.m. and the second was along Meridian Road at 6:17 p.m.

Kalispell Police Department Lt. Wade Rademacher said detectives still are investigating the reports, but the timing and proximity of the devices appear to point to a sole perpetrator.

“It was the same type of bottle and appeared to have the same types of components,” Rademacher said.

The timing of the incident outside of the clinic, which was only ten minutes from that of the initial explosion, would suggest the possibility of a crime of convenience versus an attempt to solely terrorize and harm an anti-choice protester, but police will be continuing to investigate and will likely learn more once the bomber is caught.

Either way, we hope that all of the potential violence in Kalispell is over and the perpetrator is caught quickly.

News Violence

Planned Parenthood Arson Investigation Comes as ‘Surge’ in Clinic Violence Continues

Teddy Wilson

The recent fire in Pullman, Washington, caused significant damage to the reproductive health-care clinic, but did not result in any injuries to clinic staff or other personnel. Anti-choice advocates suggest no involvement in an interview with Rewire.

See more of our coverage on recent attacks against Planned Parenthood here.

While law enforcement agencies conduct an investigation into the Planned Parenthood health center that was set ablaze by an act of arson early Friday morning, reproductive rights advocates are raising concerns about the spike in violence against abortion providers. Anti-choice advocates suggest no involvement in an interview with Rewire.

The fire caused significant damage to the building, but did not result in any injuries to clinic staff or other personnel. The Pullman, Washington, facility will likely be closed for at least a month and the organization will look for a temporary location.

The clinic did not provide abortion services, but provided other reproductive health care including birth control, family planning, and sexual health services.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

The investigation is being conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Pullman Fire Department, and this week investigators are examining surveillance video from the clinic for any clues that may be able to identify the person who set the fire, reported KXYL.

The fire at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman is just the latest this year in a series of acts of anti-choice violence against reproductive health-care providers, and pro-choice advocates claim that the increase is connected to an ongoing campaign against the organization by anti-choice activists and lawmakers.

“We are deeply concerned about the dramatic surge in threats and violence directed against Planned Parenthood and independent abortion providers since the release of deceptive videos by the so-called Center for Medical Progress,” duVergne Gaines, the national clinic access project director at the Feminist Majority Foundation, told Rewire.

The Pullman clinic was recently the site of a large anti-choice protest organized by alumni and students of New Saint Andrews College, a private Christian college. The protest was one of more than 300 protests that occurred on August 22 during the “National Day of Protest,” in response to a series of videos produced and published by the Center for Medical Progress.

Kim Hall, director of the Selkirk Prolife Alliance, told Rewire that she questions the presumption that the arson was perpetrated by someone associated with the anti-choice movement.

“As far as the fire goes, funny how everyone jumps to the conclusion that pro-lifers are at the center of it,” Hall wrote in an email. “Intentional destruction of property is not the way Americans handle controversial subjects. We follow the law, we appeal to our fellow citizens and our elected officials. It has always been my observation that when Americans know the truth they always make the right decision.”

The Selkirk Prolife Alliance organized the protest at the Planned Parenthood in Spokane, about an hour north of Pullman. Hall said the group has been unfairly connected to the arson by the media because of their close proximity to “the home of the right wing extremist skinheads” in northern Idaho.

When asked if it was unreasonable to suspect that someone who may identify with the anti-choice movement may have been involved, considering the number of similar incidents over the past three decades, Hall said it depends on a person’s point of view.

“For me, everyone I know and everyone that I have been associated with in the pro-life movement is disgusted by any violence,” Hall said. “So for me the thought of a pro-lifer doing an act of violence is the farthest thing from my mind.”

“Planned Parenthood on the other hand thinks that having a prayer vigil, press conference, and demonstration at their facility on a day that it is closed, not to mention that our priests, pastors and state representative were in attendance constitutes violence against women,” Hall said.

Gaines noted that there is a history of violence directed at abortion providers in the Pacific Northwest.

“We urge the federal government to deploy the resources at their disposal to investigate not only this latest act of violence, but also the Center for Medical Progress, and bring those responsible for violence—and violent threats—to justice,” Gaines said.

The Blue Mountain Clinic in Missoula, Montana, was firebombed in 1993, and the perpetrator was eventually arrested and convicted. A Planned Parenthood clinic in Spokane Valley was bombed in 1996. Four men, all members of a white supremacist anti-choice group, were convicted in the bombing.

All Families Healthcare, a family medicine and reproductive health-care facility in Kalispell, Montana, was severely vandalized in March of 2014. Zachary Klundt, who has connections to a local anti-choice group, was sentenced in June to five years in prison after he plead guilty in April to felony burglary, criminal mischief, and theft.

“It may not be a coincidence that a group of national anti-abortion extremists, including justifiable homicide advocate Matthew Trewhella, convened a weekend ‘conference’ in Northern Idaho just across the border from Washington just two months ago,” Gaines said.

A conference held on June 27 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, just a two-hour drive from Pullman, included an assortment of speakers associated with the radical anti-choice movement.

The Rev. Trewhella, a Milwaukee-based anti-choice leader and co-founder of the Missionaries to the Preborn, is convicted arsonist who was investigated in the 1990s for abortion clinic violence and served 14 months in prison for violation of the federal FACE Act.

The conference was hosted by the International Coalition of Abolitionist Societies at the Candlelight Christian Fellowship, and was attended by other individuals associated with the radical anti-choice movement including Rusty Thomas, Chet Gallagher, Jeremiah Smedra, and Scott Herndon.

Thomas is the director of Operation Save America, a radical anti-choice organization that routinely and aggressively targets abortion providers and local communities.

Gallagher, the assistant director of OSA, was fired by the Las Vegas Police Department in 1989, after participating in uniform in an Operation Rescue blockade of the entrance to a local abortion clinic. Gallagher served time in prison for using his uniform to gain access to a clinic, then destroying clinic property.  

Smedra and Herndon are both members of Northern Idaho chapter of Abolish Human Abortion, a radical anti-choice group with chapters around the country that stage protests featuring graphic photographs outside not only abortion clinics but also public schools and pharmacies.

Commentary Abortion

Wichita Anti-Choice Leaders Raising Funds for Multi-Million Dollar “Pro-Life Memorial” As Children Suffer From Budget Cuts

Kari Ann Rinker

In the midst of an economic crisis worsened by its "pro-life" Governor's own policies, Kansas may be getting a great-big Liberace-esque multi-million dollar “pro-life memorial.”  A group led by Wichita anti-choice terrorist leaders, Mark Rotola and Mark Holick, has embarked upon what they are calling an “ambitious project,” but would more aptly be dubbed a monument of their perceived victory by assassination.

In the midst of tax and budget cuts so severe they are poised, in the words of former Kansas Republican Chairwoman, Rochelle Chronister to take the state to the edge of a “finanical cliff,” Kansas is in a serious crisis. Referring to a recent tax bill signed, sealed, and delivered by Governor Sam Brownback, Chronister stated:

“The governor has taken us to the financial cliff, and only he has the ability to stop us from going over.  This is not a game. The magnitude of this bill cannot be overstated, and the impact that it will have on our communities and schools will be real and unforgiving.” 

That impact is already being felt as, for example, deep cuts are made in social support programs and state spending, putting vulnerable children at risk. Shannon Cotsoradis President of the child advocacy group, Kansas Action for Children, said further tax cuts, “will have devastating consequences for Kansas children and families.” 

Ms. Cotsoradis has been watching Governor Brownback and his administration closely this session as attempts have been made to strip children of vital programs and services at every turn. In response to the tax bill Kansas Action for Children said in a statement

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

A new report produced by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy shows that the only income group that will see their taxes increase under the tax bill recently signed by Gov. Sam Brownback are the poorest 20 percent of Kansans, those with an average income of just $11,000.

That group will pay about $148 more in state taxes, while the wealthiest 20 percent of Kansans will see their tax burden drop $21,087 on average. This tax plan will begin to negatively affect the Kansas budget as soon as next year. By 2018, the bill is expected to cost the state $4.5 billion.

Yet while Kansas children may not be getting social support, what the state is getting is a great-big Liberace-esque multi-million dollar “pro-life” memorial for which millions of dollars are being raised. A group led by Wichita anti-choice leaders, Mark Rotola and Mark Holick, has embarked upon what they are calling an “ambitious project,” but would more aptly be dubbed a monument of their perceived victory by assassination. Wichita is the location of the life, work and ultimate assassination three years ago this past May of Dr. George Tiller, a physician that provided abortion care here. The announcement of the memorial was released just one week after the third anniversary of his murder in his own church.

Dr. Kris Neuhaus was a colleauge of Dr. Tiller’s, and the physician who provided the second opinions required by Kansas law for women seeking safe abortion care later in pregnancy at Dr. Tiller’s practice, Women’s Health Care Services.

As an abortion doctor, Dr. Neuahus has been the object of terrorist intimidation. As such a physician and as a friend of Dr. Tiller’s, she has strong feelings about the proposed “memorial.” She told Rewire:

At a time when many of its parishioners may be having trouble paying their mortgages and wondering how to survive massive layoffs, this church wants to erect a massively expensive monument to their victory in the murder of Dr. Tiller. Kansas’ career anti-choice activists are literally salivating over a “one of a kind” tourist attraction rivaling the Creation Museum, to drive an influx of cash and the credulous.

The following is a copy of Mark Holick’s press release obtained by Rewire:

Wichita, Kansas will become the home of the National Pro Life Memorial and International Life Center. A large tract of land has been secured at 37th. St. North and North Meridian in Wichita, Kansas to construct the center. An international fund raising effort has been launched. The facility will be operated as a tax exempt 501C3 entity.

Among other things, the Memorial will consist of the National Pro Life Monument entitled “Not Forgotten.” An exact replica of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, and memorial gardens are included as a place of healing for women and families. Additionally, sixty crosses will be strategically placed on the grounds to memorialize the sixty million babies aborted since Roe v. Wade.

The International Life Center facility will include among its activities a 24 hour a day International Pro Life prayer center. An international crisis pregnant hotline and clearinghouse will offer counseling and referral services for women to pro life services in their local communities. Family counseling and job counseling services will also be available.

The International Pro Life Institute will be housed at the center. The International Pro Life Institute’s focus will be preserving, promoting and protecting the unborn and families against the international Holocaust being promoted by governments and individuals (including the United States) against the unborn. 

The pamphlet attached to the email goes on to state that the Pro-Life Center “will stop the world wide genocide” and will “generate 500,000 visitors yearly.” In a recent interview about the proposed monstrosity Mr. Rotola stated,

I thought it would be great if Wichita could develop a brand new reputation as the “pro-life capitol of the world”.  

This ambition to be the best of the absolute worst among national and now international anti-choice policy, rhetoric, and terrorist action is a recurring theme within Kansas. This kind of “my pro-life is bigger than your pro-life” culture, has produced and encouraged the Phil Klines and Scott Roeders of the world. This culture was the impetus for Representative Lance Kinzer’s 70-page omni-bus abortion bill

And with Brownback, it of course emanates from the highest office in the state. As “pro-life” Brownback makes devastating cuts and even moves to further cut the state’s budget, he has accepted an invitation to speak at this year’s National Right to Life Convention. In February, he also spoke at a Kansans for Life Breakfast, where he stated:

“Kansas is a pro-life state and we’re not going back …”

“My hope is that Kansas moves forward to become the most pro-life state …”

“This is the state that has led in these moral battles in the past …”

“That’s our legacy. It’s also our heritage and it’s our gift to this state and to this country and to this world. To lead us out of this chapter of darkness. And we can do this. There is no reason we can’t do this.”

“… how about us competing with other places on life? We’re going to be the top pro-life state in the country …”

The backers of this memorial have a reputation for local harassment and clandestine connections with former Attorney General Phil Kline. They also have a history of failed endeavors. Mark Holick was a major backer of Personhood Kansas. In spite of numerous legislative attempts at Personhood, they all failed during the 2012 session. So, will this memorial prove to be yet another failure for Rob Rotolo and Mark Holick? That remains to be seen.

It might be easy to blow this off as just another pathetic media grab, but the men behind the project claim to have enlisted a Washington, D.C. group to raise funds worldwide.  Kansas has long endured anti-choice terrorism. It has survived and even thrived here. Here’s to hoping that this proves to be a failed endeavor and the life, legacy and memory of Dr. George Tiller is left to rest in peace.