Today in Anti-Choice Terrorism

[Content Note: Anti-choice terrorism; intimidation; privacy violations; war on agency.]

The anti-choice movement is, by any reasonable definition, domestic terrorism. This flagrant, shameless, decades-long campaign of intimidation, threats, and acts of violence against abortion-seeking people, the healthcare providers who offer abortion services (or are even presumed to offer abortion services), and the spaces in which they offer them, in defense of an inherently violent ideology, is a comprehensive terrorist movement which, from just 1977 to 2011, included multiple assassinations, multiple attempted assassinations, 4 kidnappings, 191 incidents of assault and battery, countless acts of vandalism, over 200 arsons and bombings, and the relentless harassment of people trying to access a legal healthcare procedure.

They continue to seek new ways to identify, target, threaten, and harm abortion providers and patients, and ProPublica's Charles Ornstein has written a piece for the Washington Post detailing their strategies for securing private medical records, under the auspices of, naturally, "protecting women."
Increasingly, abortion opponents are pursuing personal and medical information on women undergoing abortions and the doctors who perform them. They often file complaints with authorities based on what they learn.

...In recent years, abortion opponents have become experts at accessing public records such as recordings of 911 calls, autopsy reports, and documents from state health departments and medical boards, then publishing the information on their Web sites.

Some activists have dug through clinics' trash to find privacy violations by abortion providers — such as patient records tossed in dumpsters — and used them to file complaints with regulators.

...Coast to coast, they appear to be drawing from an unofficial playbook: Some wait outside clinics, tracking or taking photos of patients' and staffers' license plates and ambulances, if called.

They not only mine public records but also collect information leaked by sympathetic health-care workers — for example, emergency-room doctors and ambulance drivers — who are required to keep patient information confidential under HIPAA. The law, however, doesn't apply to advocacy groups.

...The leaked information is used by activists to bolster complaints they submit to health agencies against abortion providers, sometimes without patients' knowledge. Operation Rescue estimates that it has 100 complaints pending in different states.
And if you're one of those patients on whose behalf a complaint is filed without your knowledge, and you'd like to know who violated your privacy? Too bad.
Alicia said she asked state officials to identify who had filed the complaint that provided her name to state officials. To her amazement, she was told that information was confidential.

..."I don't understand why whoever did this gets to be anonymous while I was the one who was supposed to not have my information leaked," she said. "Why does that person get more rights than me?"
Why on Maude's green earth is this allowed to continue? Because the people being targeted are not cis men. The people being targeted by this hateful campaign are overwhelmingly women, along with transgender men and non-binary people.

Because one of the two major parties is a state sponsor of this terrorism, who do the legislative service of the anti-choice movement, running clinics out of business with TRAP laws and ensuring that fetuses are legally valued more highly than the people who carry them.

Because the people who are running for president in that party say things like they will use all resources available to them, including the military, to stop abortions if elected president.

Because most of the people in the ostensibly pro-choice party can't even brings themselves to say the word abortion, and use mealy-mouthed language about it that entrenches stigma.

Because our two-term ostensibly pro-choice president has failed to address the loathsome Helms Amendment, and has never given a major social address on the erosion of abortion rights, even as he has overseen the most aggressive erosion of those rights since they were first guaranteed.

Because there are precious few people in positions of power who are willing to put themselves in the crosshairs, literal and figurative, of the anti-choice movement, on behalf of women and marginalized men and their doctors.

Some of them are indifferent, but many of them are afraid. Because terrorism terrifies.

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