Anti-Abortion Bombings Related

'Patriots' and racists converge

Catholic Apocalypticism
An apocalyptic version of Catholicism has been added to the mix as well. A blending of Catholic and Protestant versions of justification for anti-abortion violence is personified by Fr. David Trosch, of Mobile, Ala. Trosch, founder of Life Enterprises Unlimited, penned a cartoon depicting the murder of a surgeon under the caption "Justifiable Homicide?"

Although he was removed from pastoral responsibilities after refusing his bishop's order to stop advocating justifiable homicide ideas, he was not defrocked.

In 1994, Trosch authored a rambling missive to Congress and the media that announced that a time of "massive killing of abortionists and their staffs" was approaching. Members of abortion rights and women's groups could be "sought out and terminated as vermin are terminated."

Trosch told a reporter that targets might include the president, the attorney general and justices of the Supreme Court. He also suggested that manufacturers of intra-uterine devices (IUDs) and the RU-468 abortion pill could be hit.

This summer, Trosch's grotesque Web site featured attacks on Emily Lyons, the "murderous" nurse maimed in Birmingham. It depicts a scale with the bodies of fetuses on one side and slain abortion workers on the other. Being added to the murdered workers' side is "about 200 pounds" — a reference to slain officer Robert Sanderson.

Another strain of Catholic apocalypticism derives from what the Catholic Church calls the miracle at Fatima. Some believers "consider abortion to be an affront to God's laws and perhaps a sign the apocalypse is near," says Chip Berlet, an expert on the radical right with Political Research Associates.

There is evidence that John Salvi, a Catholic with militia ties who murdered two clinic personnel and wounded five others in the Boston area, may have been influenced by Fatimist literature of this sort.

Fr. Norm Weslin, leader of the itinerant, anti-abortion Lambs of Christ group, was asked what the biggest problem facing the "lambs" is. "Satan" was his reply. The notion that the constitutionally protected practice of abortion is considered a literal struggle with "Satan" suggests that Weslin foresees a religious war. Indeed, many anti-abortion activists see just such a jihad as already underway, with themselves playing a central role.

Like the Reconstructionists, the anti-abortion Fatimists see stopping abortion as a requirement if they are to stay the hand of God from punishing the entire society.

From Ideology To Assassination
The proponents and practitioners of anti-abortion violence see themselves as engaged in a literal, and not merely rhetorical, war with the larger culture. Many of them engage in the activities of war, from the creation of military manuals to the stockpiling of supplies. They train in operations, reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering.

The most notorious form of intelligence-gathering has been of the details of the lives and personal schedules of abortion providers. In one such project, activists identified the successor to the murdered Dr. David Gunn, creating "unwanted" posters with his photo, home address and details about his vehicle.

It was this information that provided Paul Hill with the opportunity to assassinate the doctor and his escort. The details of how Dr. John Britton was identified were written up as a case study in Life Advocate magazine.

This kind of targeting of abortion providers has been routine for years, but it is growing, as evidenced by the Web site run by Georgia-based Neal Horsley. Recently, similar calls for information on Canadian doctors have generated enormous controversy in that country, where three abortion doctors have been the victims of assassination attempts over the past few years.

In each case, the doctor was attacked at home by a sniper using a high-powered rifle equipped with a telescopic lens — yet another indication of the move of some extremists from low-level violence toward revolutionary assassination.

The ideology and operations of the militant anti-abortion movement have evolved considerably over the last quarter century. More and more, the theme of justifiable violence has entered the mainstream of related antigovernment movements.

Activists in all of these movements, more openly and in a more unified fashion than ever before, seem bent on a theocratic revolution requiring murder, bombing and other violence.