Who knew I was so scary?
I learned from this piece in Jezebel, though, I am dangerous enough to merit FBI warning law enforcement about me! Sheesh, all I do is walk women from their cars past anti-choice protesters harassing them on their way into the clinic for an appointment. And all I have in my pockets is quarters for the meters and the Ruth Bader Ginsburg finger puppet my sister gave me for Chanukah.
Thanks to Property of the People, though, we know the FBI has briefed law enforcement to be on the lookout for not only the disingenuously-named "Pro"-Life extremists, but also for Pro-Choice "Extremists." Because both sides. Technically, I don't fall into the category of "extremist" because I don't engage in illegal activity in order to protect those getting or providing abortions. But still...this is disturbing for a number of reasons, the first and most important being pro-choice extremists do not exist. According to the article,
To make the extent of the non-problem clear: Only one person could be fairly described as a “pro-choice terrorist” (he indeed described himself that way), and that is Theodore Shulman, who went to prison in 2012 for harrassing and threatening to kill two leading figures in the anti-abortion movement. (Shulman served 41 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.) The only known death of an anti-abortion protester is Jim Pouillon, who was shot and killed in September 2009 while holding a gory sign and protesting outside a Michigan clinic. Harlan James Drake, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, was severely mentally ill, according to his lawyers. He also killed a gravel pit owner the same day, reportedly believing both men had wronged his mother. According to evidence presented at trial, Drake shot Pouillon not because he was a radical pro-choice activist, but because he was offended that Pouillon was holding a disturbing sign in view of school children.
It's like the FBI told law enforcement to be on the lookout for bananas. Sure, one might kill you, but not because it's a banana. It might kill you because you took a huge bite and choked.
Pro-choicers don't threaten or intimidate. We don't look to harm people. We're into letting people choose what's best for them. That's why those of us who have the time and the temperment accompany women to buffer them from people looking to abuse them at a vulnerable time in their lives. It's the "Pro"-lifers who threaten, intimidate, harass, abuse, and yes, kill people who don't agree with them. Again, from the Jezebel piece,
Anti-abortion groups, meanwhile, have harassed doctors and clinics who provide abortions for decades, leading to arson, constant death threats, a wave of bombings throughout the 1990s, and the murders of some 12 people between 1993 and 2012, all either clinic staffers or physicians.
What is most disturbing about all of this is the shift in focus reflected in the language, and when it took place. In 2005, the FBI subcategory for this type of threat was called "anti-abortion extremists." In 2010, it had become simply "abortion extremists," which could now be construed to include anyone who committed violence around the topic of abortion. This is shifty and shady, and exactly the way right-wing fundamentalism works to deflect responsibility for their own actions onto their victims. Alarmingly, the FBI has willingly adopted their false equivalency.
So, from the churches to the legislatures, the courthouses to law enforcement, to the inhabitant of the Oval Office, the policing of women is as fervent a mandate on the Right as it ever was.