Brookline Clinic Shootings: December 30, 1994

BROOKLINE, MASS., DEC. 30 — A gunman dressed in black opened fire with a rifle at two abortion clinics here this morning, killing two female staff workers and wounding at least five other people.

This matter-of-fact sentence was the opening of a Washington Post story on December 31, 1994. Today marks the 20th anniversary of these shootings at the Planned Parenthood and Preterm Health Services clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston.

Planned Parenthood buffer zone in Vermont. Photo: Adam Fagen

Planned Parenthood buffer zone in Vermont. Photo: Adam Fagen

The Brookline shootings are generally considered the third in a series of assassinations by anti-abortion activists and followers, beginning with the murder of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola, Florida, in March 1993. A history of acts of violence compiled by NARAL frames Dr. Gunn’s killing as a turning point, while recognizing that violent acts were happening all through the 20 years since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

I was living in Massachusetts in 1994; my life, however, was such that I did not have much time or energy for the news. I have a friend who lived in Brookline at the time; I asked for her memories of the shooting. She sent me this:

 My 7-year-old daughter and I were coming home to our apartment in Brookline on the trolley to Cleveland Circle when we saw the police swarmed around the brownstone that the [Planned Parenthood] clinic was in. I had a friend who worked there part time, so I was very worried. I wanted to join the crowd of people behind the police line to find out what happened, but my daughter’s safety was first on my mind. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • silhouetteA judge in Nebraska’s Supreme Court ruled that a 16-year-old foster child was not “mature enough” to have an abortion. She is, apparently, mature enough to:
    • endure nine months of a potentially difficult pregnancy
    • endure childbirth (which is much more dangerous than abortion)
    • have a child to take care of financially and emotionally for something like … I don’t know, 20 years
    • be a teen parent totally alone in this world with no close relatives to support her and her child

    Welcome to the perfectly logical world of anti-choicers. (Jezebel)

  • Contraception: good for women and good for society. (Raw Story)
  • Expanding the availability of abortions — California, you’re doin’ it right. (NYT)
  • Not interfering with a woman’s legal right to abortion — Ohio, you’re doin’ it wrong. (NYT)
  • Although World Contraception Day was two weeks ago, it’s still important that you know these five things about birth control. (ThinkProgress)
  • Not so fast, Virginia, your abortion restrictions will not go unchallenged!! (WaPo)
  • A thoughtful mother wants safe, legal abortion access available for her daughter and everyone else’s. (The Daily Beast)
  • Another religious “institution” doing whatever possible to restrict their female employees’ access to abortion. (LA Times)
  • If you’re a GOP legislator, why would you focus on resolving the silly government shutdown when you can instead propose more legislation around abortion? (RH Reality Check)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • In case you hadn’t heard, Arizona’s new abortion law is horrendous. (RH Reality Check)
  • Arizona has also passed a craptacular contraception bill that would allow employers with “religious objections to birth control” to opt out of the state’s requirement that health plans cover contraception. (ABC15)
  • Since we’re on such a roll discussing how much things suck in Arizona — it should also be noted that we have some surly, rude, wildly unprofessional lawmakers in this state. (NARAL)
  • Surprisingly, Arizona did not make Jezebel’s list of the 10 scariest places to have ladyparts in the United States. (Jezebel)
  • FYI: Childbirth = WAY more dangerous than abortion by pill. (Minn Post)
  • How the War on Women Became Mainstream (TruthOut)
  • Provocative new research might help explain why black women are so much more likely than whites to develop and die from cervical cancer: They seem to have more trouble clearing HPV, the virus that causes the disease. (MSNBC)
  • A teen wellness clinic inside a Virginia high school distributes birth control and emergency contraception — and something crazy happened — pregnancy rates have dropped! (USA Today)
  • Why Are 17-Year-Olds Being Denied the Morning After Pill? (Fox Charlotte)
  • A handy guide to Mitt Romney’s flip-flop on abortion. (Slate)
  • A pill that could prevent the transmission of HIV? Let the testing begin! (Boston Herald)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Since when in the history of ever has abortion based solely on race or sex been a prevalent issue in Arizona and why is Rep. Trent Franks wasting the legislature’s time with this fiasco? Does he really think a pregnant woman wakes up one day and feels compelled to abort because she’s just grasped the reality that the fetus inside her will grow into a baby OF HER OWN OR THE CHILD’S FATHER’S RACE?! Also, how do they intend to enforce something like that? #IsThisRealLife? (New American Media)
  • Oh and that’s only one of the craptacular anti-choice bills coming out of our legislature. #ItGetsWorse (AZ Central)
  • It’s complete and total bunk that insurance coverage of birth control impinges upon religious freedom. (RH Reality Check)
  • Seven states sue over Obama birth control coverage rule; surprisingly Arizona isn’t one of the usual suspects! (MSNBC)
  • Since no one with a uterus was present at the Republicans’ farce of a hearing on birth control last week, the Dems had their own hearing — with actual women! (HuffPo)
  • Good News: The Virginia bill requiring forced transvaginal ultrasounds on all women seeking abortions has been annihilated. (Associated Press)
  • Virginia’s “personhood” bill is also a goner! (USA Today)
  • Putting low-income women’s health at risk, Texas defies Obama administration, bars abortion providers from Medicaid. (The Hill)
  • MAYDAY! The rising power of crisis pregnancy centers is a cause for great alarm! (American Independent)