The president of NARAL, a prominent national abortion rights group, issued a blistering statement on Friday criticizing the press for devoting insufficient attention to a string of recent arson attacks at Planned Parenthood clinics across the country.
Ilyse Hogue called on news outlets to treat the attacks as incidents of “domestic terrorism” and accused them of providing “extremists the cover to regressively and violently attack women, their access to health care, and the medical professionals who provide it.”
Her statement was a response to a review by Media Matters for America that found that mainstream publications and cable shows dedicated little coverage to the incidents.
A security guard’s vehicle was set ablaze on the construction site for a new Planned Parenthood clinic in New Orleans in August, and fire investigators determined that a September fire that severely damaged a Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington state was arson. Another fire was intentionally set at a Los Angeles clinic in October.
The organization has had a difficult few months since an anti-abortion group released a series of “sting” videos that purportedly show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue. The group contends that the videos are heavily edited and misrepresent its operations.
Congressional Republicans have called for the federal government to pull all funding for Planned Parenthood, and the House has opened no less than four investigations into the organization.
Hogue’s full statement is below, courtesy of Media Matters.
Make no mistake: we are witnessing acts of domestic terrorism at health care facilities across the country, targeting women who seek medical advice and the doctors who are brave enough to counsel them–in the face of repeated, violent attacks and daily threats. But, instead of treating these incidents as the real and present danger to innocent civilians that they are, Congress is inviting anti-abortion extremists to testify at hearings, the Department of Justice has yet to announce a full investigation, and the news media remains silent. Where is the outrage?
Women can and will continue to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives, despite murders, bombings, arsons and intimidation by those who will stop at nothing to deny women legal abortion services. We have to remember that just six years a go a doctor was gunned down in the pews of his own church in the name of this extremist movement and against a backdrop of tolerance for the radical views.
The media need to report these incidents as what they are: domestic terrorism. By staying silent or failing to discuss this new wave of attacks on health clinics in the context of anti-abortion extremism, the media is giving extremists the cover to regressively and violently attack women, their access to health care, and the medical professionals who provide it. We call on the DOJ to investigate the recent arsons, showing that our legal system will not tolerate any further assault on women, clinic escorts, security personnel or medical staff, and the news media to hold the government accountable for keeping Americans safe from harm.