Anti-abortion terror specifically targets doctors, advocates, clinic escorts, and organizations that provide or support women seeking abortions. Supporters on both sides of the issue have protested, marched, picketed, and lobbied in favor of their view. However, anti-abortion harassers have used violent and fatal methods. Over 340,000 incidents have been reported of extremists attempting to disrupt abortion clinic operations by issuing bomb threats, mailing suspicious packages, sending threatening hate mail, making hateful phone calls to staff, and the physical obstruction of the clinic entrances.
Since the election in November 2016, clinics have experienced an increase in threats of violence. It’s now critical that the media covers these acts of terror critically and attentively. We’ve outlined five 4 times pop culture has taken a stance on anti-abortion violence.
1. Orange is the New Black
The hit Netflix show addressed anti-abortion terrorism in its very first season. On the 12th episode of season 1, it’s revealed that one of the show’s main characters, Tiffany “Pennsatucky” Doggett, is in prison because she’d shot an abortion clinic nurse when the nurse commented on how many abortions Tiffany had. After the murder, Tiffany becomes a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian. Pro-life extremists then offer to pay for her legal fees, and she is appointed a high-profile, pro-life lawyer who argues that Tiffany killed the nurse for the purpose of defending unborn life. With this, the show critiques the irony of killing in the name of life.
2. Sarah Silverman is Visited by Jesus Christ
Sarah Silverman is an eye-brow raising comic who is a proud, pro-choice, feminist. Her brand of humor might not be for everyone, but no one can deny that’s she’s a strong advocate of a woman’s right to choose. In 2014, she starred in video about reproductive choice that featured Jesus. (We told ya she was controversial!) She and Jesus discussed the restrictions access in Texas abortion clinic. Their lax convo brought awareness to the laws — and physically intimidating protests — that had made abortion access difficult and dangerous.
3. Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
NBC’s Law and Order: SVU aired an episode in 2009 titled, “Hammered”. In it, Olivia Benson and her team of detectives suspect that anti-abortion extremism lead to the murder of a doctor. When they walk into the clinic, they’re egged by protestors. Once inside, the team notices that the office is outfitted in bullet-proof glass because a sniper had shot at and wounded the receptionist. The detectives then look through the multiple boxes of hate mail that the clinic has received. This episode shows the terror that abortion providers live in, or even, die for – terror that is still occurring today, evidenced by the San Bernardino shooting in 2015.
4. I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good
Steve Taylor, a Christian singer-songwriter and pro-lifer, had a knack for pointing out hypocrisies he’d witnessed in Christianity, namely murdering or harming people in support of pro-life views. His 1987 song, “I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good”, condemned anyone who claims to be a pro-life and then blows up abortion clinics or kill physicians. Unfortunately, the satirical messaging was lost on many listeners, inciting angst and disapproval of Taylor by pro-choice supporters.
There have been over 7,000 reported incidents of physical violence by extremists, including 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, and over 700 acid attacks. These life-threatening and life-ending attacks were done by citizens who consider themselves “pro-life”. These are not attacks over abortion – these are terrorists attacking the rights of women.