In March, 1994, members of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers held a memorial event in Pensacola, Florida at the site where, a year earlier, Doctor David Gunn was gunned down by an anti-abortion assassin. At the event, Doctor Gunn’s son, David, Jr., spoke with great eloquence but I will never forget him welcoming the group to what he called “the paranoia that is Pensacola.”
There was good reason to be paranoid in Pensacola, especially if you were a provider of abortion services. Before Doctor Gunn’s murder, the abortion clinics in that city had been the target of considerable anti-abortion violence. For example, in 1984 Matthew Goldsby and James Simmons bombed the Ladies Center with a pipe bomb on June 25. That forced the clinic to relocate and six months later on Christmas Day, they bombed the center again at its new location. As if that was not enough, they also set on fire two other private physician offices where the doctors performed abortions. They were convicted and sentenced to ten years but only served about half their terms.
Over the years, the Ladies Center remained the target of massive anti-abortion protests and regular Saturday vigils by locals such as John Burt and one Paul Hill. Then, just a few months after NCAP’s memorial event, Hill killed John Britton, a doctor who provided abortions at the Ladies Center and James Barrett, a volunteer who escorted patients, as they arrived in the clinic parking lot. Barrett’s wife, June, also was wounded. Hill was executed for the crime in 2003.
And now it has happened again.
In case you missed it – and it was easy to miss because the press totally ignored it – on January 1, Mr. Bobby Joe Rogers set on fire the Ladies Center, which had been renamed the “American Family Planning Clinic.” It caused about $300,000 in damages, gutting the clinic. It is reported that he merely filled a beer bottle with gasoline and used an old shirt as a wick. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire.
Bobby Joe certainly fits the profile of the anti-abortion terrorist. He was homeless and participated in the almost daily protests. One person who hung out with Rogers said that “Rogers admitted to intentionally setting fire to the clinic due to his strong disbelief in abortion.” He added that “he stated (he) was further fueled when he recently witnessed a young female entering the clinic while he was sitting amongst anti-abortion protesters.” Rogers has a past arrest record spanning nine states from the Southeast to the Midwest with felony convictions in Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri for burglary and in Mississippi for grand larceny.
The good news is that, as opposed to past events in Pensacola, the federal government responded immediately and they got their man. But what I can’t fathom, and what has bothered me for years, is do these idiots really think they are “saving babies?” Is it really abortion that they are targeting? Or are they just losers looking to get their name in the papers? I ask because, if they gave it any thought (which may be stretching it for them), they would realize that bombing an abortion clinic or killing an abortion doctors does not “save babies.” Sure that particular clinic may now be closed for a while but, guess what, those women who might have gone to that center will simply make an appointment at the OTHER center a few miles away. And if they blow that one up, the women will then travel over to Mobile and get an abortion.
The disappearance of an abortion facility does not stop abortion, it does not “save babies.” If these domestic terrorists say that’s why they did it, they’re full of it. They are just miscreants who are either totally delusional about how things work (a good possibility) or they are just looking to make a name for themselves within the anti-abortion movement. It’s all so sick.
What the hell is it with Pensacola?
- Violent decades surround burned abortion clinic (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Violent decades surround burned abortion clinic (sfgate.com)
- Apparent Arson Levels Abortion Clinic Hit Many Times Before (dokmz.wordpress.com)
- Friends talk about accused abortion clinic bomber (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Friends talk about accused abortion clinic bomber (newsok.com)
- Man Arrested in Fla. Abortion Clinic Fire (abcnews.go.com)
- Man Arrested, Charged in Fla. Abortion Clinic Fire (foxnews.com)
- Man arrested, charged in Fla. abortion clinic fire (newsok.com)
- Often-Targeted Abortion Clinic Burns (myfoxphoenix.com)