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Thursday, October 23, 2008
What about people who bomb abortion clinics in America? When reading on the internet about Islamic terrorism, commenters often mention that there is also terrorism by Christian fundamentalists in America, where there have been bombings of abortion clinics and shootings of abortion providers.
How prevalent is this form of American domestic terrorism? In recent years there have been round about 15,000 - 20,000 murders in total per year in the US. How many of these were of abortion providers?
Guess now. Scribble your answer down.
If you had asked me a few months ago I would have said three or four murders per year.
Considered over the last fifteen years I was overestimating somewhat. According to the best-known pro-abortion organisation in the US, NARAL Pro-Choice America,
Since 1993, seven clinic workers – including three doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard – have been murdered in the United States. Seventeen attempted murders have also occurred since 1991That figure comes from a document published in December 2007. So far as I know the figures have not changed since then.
However the phrasing "Since 1993 seven abortion clinic workers have been murdered in the United States" could be re-arranged, with equal truth, to say that "since 1998 no abortion clinic workers have been murdered in the United States."
The last such murder was ten years ago today.
When I first found out this fact I was surprised. Again and again I have read comments that assumed that this type of terrorism was less deadly than Islamic terrorism but was nonetheless a steadily lethal undercurrent of American life - a death here, a death there.
In the fight against any type of crime, no victory can ever be anything but temporary. The most you can ever say is that the trend is down. There have been several attempted murders of abortion providers during the last ten years and the fact that none of them have succeeded must owe something to mere chance. As has often been observed, the terrorist only has to get lucky once. However it does now seem probable there will be zero murders of abortion providers during the presidency of George W Bush. I doubt that he will be given much credit for this, though if the trend had been otherwise he would certainly have been given the discredit.
(Cross posted to Samizdata.)