The Guardian July 18, 2001


Fatal shooting outside abortion clinic

Anti-abortion groups have been scrambling for cover following the fatal 
shooting of a security guard at a Melbourne abortion clinic. The group 
calling itself Helpers of God's Precious Innocents had been at the clinic 
before the shooting took place. They claim that they do not know the man 
responsible for the guard's killing.

Anti-abortion groups in Australia use intimidatory tactics similar to such 
groups in the US. They stand outside clinics, block access to patients and 
staff, videotape people going in  all the staple tricks of their US 
counterparts.

There are visiting advisers who teach the locals how best to intimidate and 
harass women. They call it counselling.

The very nature of the anti-abortion protests creates an atmosphere of 
intimidation and incitement to violence against women and staff who work in 
such medical facilities. It is a form of fundamentalism, just as vicious 
and malignant as that already witnessed in a number of other countries.

Government and church leaders must immediately support the right of women 
to an abortion, the right of clinics to provide an abortion procedure and 
combat the climate of intimidation created by anti-abortionists.

There have been a number of killings at abortion clinics in the US and this 
violence has now been brought to Australia.

The shooting of an innocent person who was doing his job is not acceptable. 
Neither are the actions of those fundamentalists who make it their business 
to interfere in other people's lives.

"The fundamentalist backlash against women in Australia which results in 
incidents like this must be checked urgently by policy and law-makers in 
the political and judicial system", said Lisa Solomon, the Victorian 
convenor of the Women's Electoral Lobby in The Australian" (17/7/01).

Women have every right to have access to safe medical procedures  and 
their rights should not be questioned by self-appointed guardians of public 
morality.

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