Anti-Abortion Fake Clinics Play the Victim, with Congressional Help

| Reproaction

By: Tenaja Henson

In the wake of abortion protections being gutted nationally, anti-abortion lawmakers from North Carolina ignored the harms wrought on our community and instead asked the state Attorney General Josh Stein, to protect the anti-abortion fake clinics in the state, citing a recent alleged attack on an anti-abortion fake clinic in Asheville earlier this summer. [1]

The letter that five Members of Congress representing North Carolina – including Senator Thom Tillis – sent to the Attorney General goes as far as to cite the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which was created to protect abortion clinics, patients, and providers from the violence and harassment they face from protestors, who sometimes serve as affiliates, volunteers, and staff of anti-abortion fake clinics. In fact, the FACE Act was written into law in 1994 as a direct response to rise in violent tactics used by anti-abortion advocates and extremists, like murdering doctors, kidnapping, threats of arson, and violent trespassing, all in an attempt to keep patients from getting to their appointments and providers from doing their jobs. [2]

What is most interesting is that that state of North Carolina has its own version of the FACE Act, “North Carolina Code – General Statutes, 14-277.4. – Obstruction of health care facilities.” [3] Under the state law, anti-abortion fake clinics do not qualify as a health care facility, whereas, according to the National Abortion Federation, anti-abortion fake clinics can find legal protections under the federal FACE Act. [4]

For these men in high levels of power to conflate alleged vandalism of fake clinics to the decades of arson, bombings, murders, kidnappings, and threats that abortion clinics have resiliently endured, is absolutely foul. Anti-abortion fake clinics contribute to the hostile social environment around abortion, and the misinformation they spread fans the flames of inflammatory rhetoric that inspires violence towards abortion clinics.

The authors refer to pro-abortion and pro-choice activists as “anti-life”, using incendiary language to have readers and supporters associate those who support abortion with violence or even murder. While they make accusations of alleged pro-abortion attacks, they fan the flames of real violence against abortion providers and communities needing care. There is a long history in the United States of Presidents and other elected officials inadequately denouncing extremist domestic violence, which helps normalize it. When real, terroristic violence is not immediately denounced and combatted, it can lead to seemingly unthinkable acts of terror to be treated as one person’s idea of a hero origin story or another’s fun Tuesday morning activity. [5]

This country is waking up to the reality of anti-abortion fake clinics’ dangerous impacts, and they are scared. We are seeing states across the country issuing warnings about the dangers of fake clinics and the misinformation they spread about abortion, birth control, sex, and reproduction. [6,7,8] This is important work and a vital message for states to be sharing with the population.

Attorney general Josh Stein responded to this letter by discussing the things he is doing to protect North Carolinians like addressing the opioid epidemic and helping survivors of sexual assault find justice by testing old rape kits. And then, encouraged the public to alert local law enforcement if they “… are aware of anyone engaging in violence against people exercising their rights, whether at a crisis pregnancy center or abortion clinic.” [9]

Obviously, this response is not what these vile conservative ideologues were hoping for, but it does break down the anti-abortion delusion that they are the ones being targeted and harmed. In fact, there is growing concern and evidence that the anti-abortion protestors outside of abortion clinics are growing more violent and dangerous, especially after the overturning of Roe v. Wade this summer. [10] We must recognize the real threat that the anti-abortion movement and their fake clinics pose to our communities, rather than conservative ideologues in elected official positions wasting our time and resources crying wolf, when it’s their misinformation that thwarts access to necessary health care.




[3] [4]








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