Assassins and Their Helpers
Articles and opinion pieces about antiabortion extremists in Wisconsin and around the country.
Radical Abortion Opponents Said to Be Laying Low January 21, 2003 - Researcher Frederick Clarkson documents a recent decline in antiabortion violence, partly due to aggressive enforcement of the FACE act. However the most extreme elements, like Army of God, are stepping up their agitation.
Abortion-Related Violence Court Cases Reach Peak June 8, 2003 - "When added to a batch of other high-profile cases, the recent arrest of suspected serial bomber Eric Rudolph might make 2003 a banner year for federal criminal and civil court activity on anti-abortion violence."
The Anti-Choice Rogues' Gallery The One People's Project gives capsule biographies and pictures of antiabortion fanatics, mostly in and around New Jersey.
National Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers Report on Federal Efforts to Prevent and Prosecute Clinic Violence 1998-2000
Crimes Against Reproductive Rights in California is a study prepared by the Senate Office of Research for the State Senate of California. They assert that "We lead the nation in arsons and bombings at reproductive health care facilities."
Report Details "Pro-Choice" Crimes A report created by the Lay Catholic Mission of Los Angeles in opposition to the Senate report above. It claims to establish that "Murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, torture, kidnapping, rape, stalking, death threats, bomb threats (including false-threat reports from alleged pro-lifers), sex crimes, conspiracy, drug crimes, property crimes, medical crimes and fraud-related crimes" are the work of abortion doctors.
For more about anti-abortion incitement to violence, see Calls to Violence.
The Theorists of the Anti-abortion Movement and Historical Revisionism provide some background on the ideas that guide the anti-abortion protesters.
The Pro-Life Killings
- Doctor Killed During Abortion Protest Washington Post, Thursday, March 11, 1993. Michael Griffin murders Dr. David Gunn. "A doctor was shot to
death outside his abortion clinic here today when a man who prayed for the physician's soul stepped forward from a group of antiabortion protesters and opened fire, according to police and witnesses."
- Rock In A Hard Place June, 1994 - Pearl Jam travel to Pensacola, Florida to show support for abortion rights on the first anniversary of the murder of abortion provider Dr. David Gunn.
- Two Killed at Clinic in Florida July 30, 1994 - The Washington Post account of the murders of Dr. Britton and Col. Barrett in Pensacola.
- James H. Barrett
Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force The official Arlington National Cemetery web page for Col. Barrett, who was murdered by antiabortion fanatic Paul Hill, who also killed Dr. John Britton at the same time.
- Antiabortion Extremists for and against Paul Hill Some proclaim him a Saint, others demand his execution.
- Sniper Kills Abortion Doctor Near Buffalo Account of the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian. See also James Kopp and his Supporters and Collaborators
- Threats Over Abortion Execution August 21, 2003 - The Florida Attorney General, two corrections officials, and the Judge who sentenced Paul Hill to death all received threatening letters with bullets in them.
- Abortion doctor's killer has no regrets August 21, 2003 - Paul Hill believes that God commanded him to kill Dr. Britton and his driver. "If I were put in similar circumstances, I believe I would act similarly."
- Not your typical group of demonstrators September 4, 2003 - Columnist Michael Mayo describes four groups of protestors at Hill's execution: pro death penalty, anti death penalty, prolife anti death penalty, prolife pro death penalty.
- Hill's execution threatens to fuel extremists August 24, 2003 - "But rather than close a violent chapter in the struggle over abortion, Hill's execution threatens to resurrect the radical movement, which has lain dormant."
- Doctor's killer seen as thug and martyr August 30, 2003 - Compares and contrasts the views of Hill's supporters and those who consider him a murderer. Presents a timeline of antiabortion crimes.
The assassin John Salvi
Tears flowing as verdict read, victims speak out A newspaper account of the trial of assassin John Salvi, with photos his victims and of his parents in court.
John Salvi, Abortion Clinic Violence, and Catholic Right Conspiracism: The Politics of John Salvi's Conspiracy Theories
John Salvi's ideas have largely been dismissed as the ramblings of a crazy man. In this article, Chip Berlet, Senior Analyst of Political Research Associates, shows how much Salvi's ideas derived from a reactionary conspiracist Catholic subculture.
Clinic Killings Follow Years of Antiabortion Violence January 17, 1995 - Many violent acts preceded the assassinations by Griffin, Hill, and Salvi.
An Australian Prolife Assassin
Peter James Knight has been convicted of the murder of Steven Rogers in Melbourne, Australia
James Kopp and his supporters and collaborators
For more about Dr. Barnett Slepian, see The Murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian.
To trace the fortunes of suspect Kopp and his supporters, see James Kopp, his Critics and Admirers.
- Blast at Alabama Abortion Clinic Kills a Policeman, Injures Nurse January 30, 1998 - "Officials said it was the first fatal bombing of an abortion clinic since violence at clinics began to be recorded more than 15 years ago, although five people have been killed and at least a dozen injured in shootings by antiabortion extremists around the country." Law enforcement later named Eric Robert Rudolph as the suspect. As of 2002, he has not yet been found.
Robber and Anti-abortion Extremist Robert Cook
On September 22, 1994 Robert Cook stole $260,000 from an armored car, hoping to use the money to fund a war against abortion. He was later tried, found guilty, and sentenced to 176 months in federal prison.
Priest Attacks Ill. Abortion Clinic On September 30, 2000 a crazed priest drives his car into an abortion clinic, attacking the building and its owner with an axe. He is only deterred by two shotgun blasts.
- Anti-Abortion Terror How Robert Cook stole $260,000 from an armored car in the hopes of financing an anti-abortion insurrection.
Pastor Matt Trewhella is founder and leader of the Milwaukee faction of the Missionaries to the Preborn.
- Matthew Trewhella and Missionaries to the Preborn A collection of links by BARF - the Biblical America Resistance Front, whose task it is to track and comment on anti-abortion extremists.
- Pastor Matt on Social Security Social Security is plenty evil: it violates #1, #8, and #10 of the Ten Commandments.
- Opposition to "Partial Birth" Ban Pastor Matt and his Missionaries oppose the campaign to ban D&X ("partial birth") abortions. "The question of
the hour is: why have we moved to a miniscule-measure strategy rather than a complete abolition strategy?"
- God, Guns & Terror: Missionaries to the Preborn By Tom Burghardt,
Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights (BACORR). "The dual-track strategy of such groups bear an alarming
resemblance to fascist organizations such as those spawned
throughout Europe during the 1930's -- and today. Electoral
politics on the one hand, terror on the other: demagoguery and
violence remain the quintessential signs of fascist terror."
Clayton Lee Waagner
- Troubling clues put abortion clinics on alert September 29, 1999 - The online version of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on the arrest of Clayton Waagner, noting his record of violent crime dating back to 1975 and his interest in the anti-abortion cause.
- Abortion ‘warrior' targeted city nurse March 13, 2000 - An article in the Charleston Gazette Online tells how Clayton Waagner stalked a Charleston nurse, believing her to be an abortionist, whom God expected him to kill.
- America's Most Wanted; Clayton Lee Waagner Waagner was featured on the March 10, 2001 showing of America's Most Wanted.
- Fugitive keeps giving the slip to fed agents - Clinic stalker tied to recent bank heist May 28, 2001. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provides more photographs of Waagner.
- On the lam, but online June 27, 2001 - "Self-avowed antiabortion terrorist Clayton Waagner is a fugitive, but by posting a pledge to kill abortion providers, he may have given the feds just what they need to catch him." An article in Salon.com by Frederick Clarkson.
- Clayton's message to the United States ArmyofGod.com reproduces what they claim is a message from Clayton Waagner. The message puports to give details of Waagner's escape from jail and supposedly conveys his threat to kill doctors and staff of abortion clinics.
- Fugitive Waagner will 'fight until he dies,' friend says September 11, 2001 - Most recently spotted in Memphis, TN, Waagner abandoned the car he was driving. It contained a pipe bomb, safely detonated by the police.
- Anti-Abortion Escapee Joins bin Laden on FBI List September 28, 2001 Commentary by Frederick Clarkson, writing for Women's eNews.
- Victim still feels gun in ribs after carjacking by abortion-bomber Tennesean Harold Wayne Baker tells how Clayton Waagner stole his van and kidnapped him at gunpoint.
- Neal Horsley champions Clayton Waagner Horsley, creator of the infamous Nuremberg Files tells a rip-snorting story of his encounters with fugitive terrorist Waagner.
- Fugitive abortion foe: I sent anthrax threats November 25, 2001 - "Waagner makes visit to Web site operator"
- Fugitive Waagner suspected in Nov. 9 bank robbery in Morgantown December 1, 2001 - "Federal authorities in West Virginia have staked their own claim to wanted fugitive and militant anti-abortionist Clayton Waagner by announcing an arrest warrant in connection with a bank robbery in Morgantown last month." Guess where that roll of $100 bills came from, the one that Waagner flashed at Neal Horsley a few weeks later?
- FBI: Suspected anthrax hoax mailer sighted twice in Birmingham December 3, 2001 - A salesman at a store that sells lockpicks and body armor reported seeing Waagner there.
- Sharp-eyed clerk IDs anthrax hoax fugitive in store December 6, 2001 - From the Cincinnati Post, a local account of Waagner's arrest.
- Fugitive Waagner kept high profile December 15, 2001 - Article recaps Waagner's escape adventures and counts up the charges and possible jail time.
- Waagner receives 30-year sentence January 26, 2002 - An antiabortion warrior goes down for the count.
- Unfinished business: What happened to Clayton Lee Waagner's abortion-worker hit list? February 6, 2002 - Now that Waagner is safely locked up for a long time, what about that list of 42 people he meant to kill? A description of the list and Waagner's helpers.
Anti-Abortion Terrorism Threatens All Americans February 13, 2002 - "the federal crackdown on unrepentant terrorist Clayton
Waagner could signal a new commitment to protecting abortion providers." The feds may also examine the role the Army of God played in helping Waagner.
- The pro-life assassin who took a powder April 27, 2002 - Speaking of his function as role model for the antiabortion movement, Clayton Waagner says "I've shown them that you can do something without killing someone. That has brought new life into the extremist groups."
- Domestic Terrorist: How a small-time crook with nine kids and frostbite became the most wanted man in America August 4, 2002 - Clayton Waagner's story, Part 1 of 2. A lengthy tale of impulsive criminal acts merged with nutty fantasies of religious assassinations.
- Domestic Terrorist: Waagner on the run August 5, 2002 - Part 2 of 2. Waagner may have used the antiabortion angle as a way to seem more than a mere bank robber. He lived high as a fugitive while his wife and children lived in poverty.
- Antiabortion Anthrax Hoax Suspect Clayton Waagner Sentenced to Nearly 20 Years on Firearms, Car Theft Charges August 16, 2002 - He had sent out "more than 550 anthrax hoax letters to family planning clinics."
- Clayton Waagner's gone but not forgotten October 2, 2002 - Dennis Roddy gives a humorous account of his mail exchange with Waagner: "Our correspondence is spotty because, while no longer self-employed as a desperado, he maintains a busy schedule of trips between prisons."
Some antis support Waagner, while others denounce him
- The Abortion Industry and Clayton Lee Waagner November 30, 2001 - "More than anything else, Clayton Lee Waagner, the self-proclaimed 'abortion avenger,' is an invention of his own warped mind, with the willing help of the abortion industry and its spin machine." The Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America wants you to know that Bro. Clayton is none of theirs.
- Pro-Abortion Ally Clayton Lee Waagner Caught in Cincinnati December 5, 2001 - "We thank God that Clayton Lee Waagner has finally been apprehended and that perhaps the truth will be told about the collusion between him, anthrax and the abortion industry." Yet another denunciation by Flip Benham.
- Lawless Christianity The Horsley – Waagner relationship: the making of a puppet May 26, 2003 - Steve Wetzel gives the reasons for Clayton Waagner's name being removed from MTTU's Prisoners of Christ list. By Wetzel's lights, Waagner is an unrepentant criminal, thus certainly not a Christian. Furthermore Neal Horsley has neglected his Christian duty to lead Waagner to repentance, choosing instead to manipulate him: "Sadly, a weak-minded Waagner became a puppet for Horsley’s desire for notoriety and web site 'hits'." Make no mistake - Neal Horsley is only about Neal Horsley."
- Clayton Waagner Home Page Hosted at the Army of God website, see his jailhouse art self-portrait, read his Open Letter To Anti-Abortion Believers, in which he rebukes his supporters for havng let him down. "The lack of support I have received in preparing for this most important trial makes me question the depth and commitment of the antiabortion movement to this cause which we all voice so loudly."
- It Won't Wash! The web site of the Army of God has been a major support area for Clayton Waagner and other antiabortion fanatics. Operation Save America and Missionaries to the Unborn both welcomed Army of God people to their Wichita campaign in the summer of 2001, including Johnathan O'Toole, who calls himself "Adjutant of the Army of God."
Frank Lafayette Bird, Jr.
Father John Earl
Ricky Lee McDonald
- Man sentenced for a second act of arson June 29, 2001 - He must really love to play with fire! Having already served 30 months for a clinic arson he commited in 1996, he is found guilty of a second clinic arson.
The Williams Brothers
- Hateful life ended in whimper November 19, 2002 - "Matthew Williams' jail suicide is a far cry from his early bravado." He had been charged along with his brother, Tyler, with several crimes: the murder of a gay couple, arson of a synagoge, and arson of an abortion clinic. Both brothers were apparently involved in the Christian Identity religion.
- Poster boys for the summer of hate October 6, 1999 - A four-part Salon Magazine article written just after the brother's capture for the spree of murder and arson. Matthew Williams states: "I have followed a higher law ... I have to obey God's law rather than man's law."
They were merely Sharing the Gospel, and then . . .
- Abortion foe: Picket roughed up. Activist alleges police fail to halt misdeeds November 21, 2002 - Granite City Police Chief Ruebhausen " said it is sometimes difficult to sort out what happened because the witnesses are people who are on one side or the other of the abortion issue. Ruebhausen said pickets have strong feelings about the issue and are in close proximity to the clinic's clients, who often are in an emotional state. "It's not a good mix," he said.
- Anti-abortion protester convicted of trespassing May 8, 2003 - It took the jury 15 minutes to find Jack Finger guilty of criminal trespass. They were not impressed when Finger's attorneys compared him with Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, and César Chávez.
- Profiles of 14 Leading Anti-Choice Organizations Summary information about prominent organizations, including annual income for many of them, history, leadership, number of members. Fact sheet is "Current as of June 2001".
Anti-Choicers Fear New Terrorism Law Antiabortion extremists in Canada have good reason to fear that their connections to American extremists will get them in trouble. Canadian antis have associated with these American extremists: Matt Trewhella, James Kopp, Joseph Scheidler, Mark Crutcher.
For accounts of cross-border activism see Milwaukee's Missionaries on Tour. Also Missionary to the Preborn Mark Gabriel tells how Canadian customs denied him entry into Canada twice within the space of a few days. Could be, Mark theorizes, that it had something to do with his FBI record and the stacks of gruesome fetus posters in his vehicle. Those proabort Canadians impounded his pickup and kept him in jail for several days. All was not lost though, as he was able to conduct a prolife witness while imprisoned.
- Marchers fill Modesto streets, protest abortions March 29, 2002 - In Modesto, California, 1,200 people turned out for the fourth annual Good Friday March for Life.
- Archbishop joins 1,000 Catholics in procession of faith March 29, 2002 - An account of the Englewood, NJ, March for Life. Some marchers attended in the hope of putting a positive spin on the church in the wake of the priest sex abuse scandals.
- May 11th - Mother's Day Picket of Abortionist's Home Full Quiver Ministries means to "let the baby-killer's neighbors know what kind of a man they live near." Scheduled for May 11, 2002.
- Abortion enemies change their strategy March 3, 2002 - In Des Moines, Iowa, the prolifers now favor lobbying over confrontations in the street. They try to "get the message across through education rather than chanting the same three words through gritted teeth. It's a matter of touching hearts."
- Justice Department Let-Down February 13, 2002 - FACE law enforcement, begun under President Clinton, continues. Evidently the antis had hoped to do as they pleased under the new administration.
- Constitution Suspended for the Michaels and All Pro-lifers in Highland: Letter to the Editor Daniel and Angela Michael tell their version of the story.
- Pro-life demonstrations planned for Olympic Games Set for February 7 through 13 in Salt Lake City, the actions are to be led by Generation Life and longtime antiabortion activist Patrick Mahoney. These are folks who never tire of describing the Mormon religion as a "cult." What kind of welcome awaits them in Utah?
- Anti-abortion groups employ new strategies November 4, 2001 - Vote Life America, an antiabortion splinter group of the GOP targets politicians who disagree with them. They display the big, ugly mangled fetus pictures outside their enemies' offices.
- Sect leader sentenced to 50 years in prison for murder October 31, 2001 - "The leader of an apocalyptic religious sect has been sentenced to more than 50 years in prison for murder on top of an 89-year term for other crimes in California." Sect leader Christopher Turgeon asserts that God disapproves of homosexuality, abortion and women's rights. He also tried to get off on an insanity defense.
- Former judge loses law license for six months September 19, 2001 The Judge had jailed a woman to prevent her from having an abortion.
- Parade ousts abortion opponents September 5, 2001 - Organizers barred Wisconsin Right to Life from participating in the Labor Day parade in Janesville, WI, deeming their literature "offensive."
Oregon activist arrested outside clinic March 8, 2001 - The Birmingham News reports that Robert A. Rudnick was arrested outside a local abortion clinic in an Operation Rescue Truth Truck, covered with pictures of dead fetuses.
"Officers confiscated three handguns, two shotguns, ammunition and a bulletproof vest found in 46-year-old Robert A. Rudnick's van, which was parked in front of the 27th Place South clinic, police said."
- Has violence killed the anti-abortion movement?
"Operation Rescue's Buffalo fizzle showed that big clinic
protests are a thing of the past, but they may have already done their damage."
- Recent cases of Abortion-Related Violence
CNN Online summarizes eight recent incidents of murder and attempted murder. October, 1998.
- Wholly War
Salon Magazine article written just after Dr. Slepian was murdered. "The killing of Dr. Barnett Slepian can't hide the fact that the anti-abortion movement is politically dead."
- "Anti-abortionists bombing their own cause
Article by Clarence Page, January 30, 1998. Compares the Birmingham church bombers who killed four little girls in 1963 to the Birmingham clinic bombers of 1998. "The anti-abortion
movement, particularly in its most
radical wings, stands closer to those
who opposed equal rights for blacks
than they do to those who favored
- Soldier in the Army of God
Biographical article tracing Shelley Shannon's progress from clinic protester, to arsonist, to attempted murderer. She has now completed five years of a 31-year sentence.
- Shelley Shannon in Depth: Background and Documents CourtTV quotes extensively from Shelley's journals and other documents.
- Milwaukee Antis in the News
Mostly articles from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel