Anti Choice Christian Terrorist

Anti Choice Christian Terrorist

On a cold, sunny December day in 1994, a pro-life terrorist named John Salvi walked into two abortion clinics in Boston and killed two people and injured five.  Then, for some unknown reason, he jumped into his car and drove all the way down to Norfolk, Virginia where he pulled up in front of the Hillcrest Clinic, a facility that also performed abortions.  He jumped out of the car and fired randomly at the building with a semi-automatic rifle.  Fortunately, no one was injured and about a week later I visited the clinic and the clinic director, Suzette Caton, showed me the bullet holes.

The Hillcrest Clinic had always been a target for anti-abortion zealots.  But, despite John Salvi, years of picketing, a bombing and an arson, the Hillcrest Clinic served women in the Tidewater, Virginia area for four decades.  And now they are shutting down their doors because the Commonwealth of Virginia thinks they don’t have adequate parking and their hallways are not wide enough.

Anti Choice Christian Terrorists

Anti Choice Christian Terrorists

The Hillcrest Clinic closed its doors on April 20, 2013. There were two main reasons for the closure.  One was that their patient load had declined over the last few years from 2,116 in 2009 to 1,629 in 2012.  As any business owner knows, you always have a bottom line to pay the bills and a decline that dramatic certainly affects the income.   Of course, one could say that that is “good news” in that fewer women were having abortions.  Let’s just hope there were fewer abortions because the women just elected to not have them, versus being pressured by the state or anti-abortion zealots.

More Christian Terrorists

More Christian Terrorists

The second – and main- reason was that regulations had recently been passed by the Commonwealth of Virginia under the guise of “enhancing patient safety” and, according to Caton, it would have cost the clinic about $500,000 to comply with the new rules.  The rules generally require the clinic to meet hospital-like design guidelines, such as hallway size, the number of parking spaces and number of toilets.  As if the patients in the clinic were being forced to pee outside.  That was too much of a price tag for Hillcrest, so they elected to close – which is exactly what these regulations are designed to do.

If there is any good news, it is that according State officials, of Virginia’s 20 abortion clinics, Hillcrest is the only one not seeking to have their license renewed.  No doubt, the Planned Parenthood clinics will embark on fundraisers to come up with the money and the independents, well, it’s hard to say what their strategy will be.  One thing that at least one clinic is hoping for is to stretch out the process until Virginia can elect a pro-choicer Governor this November.

Abortion

Abortion

“It’s a little bit bittersweet,” said Caton.  “But I also feel like for 40 years we’ve had the honor of providing compassionate care to the women in Tidewater who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy.”

In 1983, a man broke in to the clinic, poured kerosene throughout the office and set it ablaze. A year later, a cluster of pipe bombs exploded nearby, breaking a plate glass window of the bank branch on the first floor.  In May, 1989, six activists pushed their way into the building.  Then Salvi paid them a visit.

Despite the violence, the clinic staff never talked about closing.

The pen may indeed be mightier than the sword.