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.