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Abortion Rights Group Wants Clinic Attacks To Be Classified As Terrorism

This is a picture of  A painted line denoting the 35-foot buffer zone around the entrance to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston, Massachusetts
A painted line denotes the 35-foot buffer zone around the entrance to a Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston, MA

As part of a national effort, the Massachusetts branch of an abortion rights advocacy group is calling on Governor Charlie Baker to request that the Department of Justice classify violence at reproductive health clinics as domestic terrorism.Wednesday is the 21st anniversary of shootings at two abortion clinics in Brookline that killed two receptionists.

NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Executive Director Megan Amundson says threats and violence have increased since then, pointing to an attack on a Colorado clinic in November that killed three. Governor Baker told reporters this week that violence against clinics is terrorism and whether it meets the federal standard is beside the point. Amundson says classifying it as such is the point.

“The governor’s response seems to suggest that he does not take women’s safe access to healthcare seriously,” said Amundson.

In 2014, Massachusetts passed a law tightening security regarding demonstrations at abortion clinics after the Supreme Court ruled against a 2007 law that banned protests within 35 feet of a clinic.

In response to the group's call Tuesday, Governor Baker's press secretary Lizzy Guyton issued this statement.

"Since this is an internal federal issue, Governor Baker feels our congressional delegation should be involved in establishing any new standards around this issue and believes any person committing a heinous act that terrorizes innocent people, whether it meets a federal standard or not, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law to keep our communities safe."

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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