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CRACK DOWN ON TERRORISM AT WOMEN'S CLINICS

Taking on terror at home should start with anti-abortion criminals. . . .

Violence and threats of violence against Americans engaged in the delivery of health care to women, including abortions as allowed under law, have been tolerated for years. . . .

Among the thousands of recipients of anthrax threats were at least 170 clinics that provide reproductive health care for women. This was not a random incident by a new manifestation of kook. The mass mailings of letters containing threats and white powder were professionally addressed and many were in envelopes bearing return addresses of the U.S. Marshal's Service and the Secret Service. . . .

For decades, women's health care providers have experienced as a fact of life what other segments of society are experiencing with horror. The National Abortion Rights Action League . . . tracks violence perpetrated by religiously motivated militant anti-abortion criminals. Since 1993, NARAL says, three doctors, two clinic employees, an escort worker and a security guard have been killed. There have been 16 attempted murders. . . .

Many of the criminals have been prosecuted. But certainly more would have been, and this whole cult of violence would have been contained much more effectively, if the anti-abortion community had taken ownership of the violence at its fringes and helped bring the law down on the criminals. And certainly, had law enforcement had as much political will behind it before as it does now to investigate and prosecute those who make terroristic threats, the long, sustained crime wave against women's clinics would have been less severe.

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