U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette (D-CO), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) introduced legislation on Jan. 11 to condemn all forms of political violence in the U.S., regardless of its target or intent.
The resolution comes as a direct response to a measure House Republicans plan to vote on Wednesday condemning recent attacks on anti-choice facilities, but ignores similar attacks on those seeking or providing abortion care in the U.S.
Sponsors of the Democratic-led resolution say the GOP’s blatant refusal to condemn the violence against pro-choice entities as part of their resolution sends a dangerous message that could further embolden the extremists behind such attacks.
Unlike the Republican-led resolution that condemns only the violence against anti-choice facilities, the resolution offered by the pro-choice leaders condemns all forms of political violence in U.S.
“There should be no place for violence of any kind in this country,” said DeGette, who serves as co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “By only condemning the attacks against anti-choice groups, and ignoring the growing violence against those providing or seeking abortion care in this country, House Republicans are sending a very dangerous signal to extremists across this country. It’s imperative that Congress remain united in condemning all forms of political violence in this country – regardless of who is behind it. Anything less will only embolden those who are spreading the hate-filled rhetoric that’s tearing this country apart.”
“Time and time again, Republicans have refused to condemn politically motivated violence—especially those that serve their political agenda,” Lee said. “Let’s be clear: violent, ideologically based attacks are unacceptable under any circumstance. The deliberate omission of abortion clinics and
women’s health care facilities from this Republican-led resolution condemning violence is unacceptable and sends a dangerous message to extremists. As Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, I stand in solidarity with healthcare providers, patients, and advocates across the country, and recommit to fighting these reckless attacks on reproductive freedom from the extremist right.”
“Republicans are using their new House majority to continue pushing their dangerous anti-abortion agenda and mislead the public about what’s at stake in the struggle for reproductive freedom,” said Pressley. “Let’s be clear: these so-called ‘crisis pregnancy centers’ are deceptive and illegitimate institutions that coerce vulnerable people and mislead them about the full range of reproductive healthcare options. Our resolution makes plain that we condemn all political violence. Meanwhile, Republicans are ignoring the real-life, dangerous consequences of their anti-abortion rhetoric. We stand in solidarity with all of the healthcare providers who should be able to do their job without fear of violence, intimidation, or harassment – a devastating reality in my district and across the nation as right wing rhetoric incites violence against those who provide essential health care. I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Pro-Choice Caucus for their partnership and I won’t stop fighting to affirm abortion care as the human right that it is.”
There were nearly 7,000 acts of violence reported against women’s health care facilities in the U.S. between 1977 and 2015, including arsons, bombings, death threats, kidnappings and assaults. During that same period, there were an additional 190,000 acts of disruption reported against such facilities – including bomb threats and harassing calls to both patients and personnel.
Since 1993, there have been at least 42 bombings across the country aimed at facilities that provide abortion care. During that time, at least, 11 people have been murdered at clinics around the country – many of them doctors and personnel who were working at the facilities when they were attacked.
The resolution by DeGette, Lee and Pressley would condemn all acts of political violence and attacks on health care facilities, personnel and patients. It affirms the right of all people to access reproductive health care services and medical advice without fear of violence, intimidation, or harassment; and calls on the Biden administration to use all appropriate authorities to uphold public safety, protect health care facilities and safeguard health care personnel and patients.
A copy of the resolution is available here.
Video of DeGette’s remarks on the House floor on Jan. 11 in support of the resolution is available here. Video of Pressley’s remarks on the House Floor on Jan. 11 in support of the resolution is available here.
A transcript of Rep. DeGette’s remarks on the House Floor on Jan. 11. is below:
If my Republican colleagues want to condemn the growing level of political violence in this country, let’s do it.
But that’s not what this resolution does.
What it does, it goes to great lengths to condemn attacks against anti-choice groups, and it says nothing about the growing threat of violence targeting women’s health clinics across the United States.
It doesn’t condemn the numerous bullets that have been fired at health care clinics throughout the country.
It doesn’t condemn the bricks that have crashed through windows at provider’s offices; or the assaults, kidnappings and even the murders of doctors and health care personnel.
It doesn’t condemn the arsons, bombings, death threats – or any one of the more than 7,000 acts of violence – that have been reported against these facilities.
By ignoring these acts of violence, Republicans are sending a very dangerous message that will only embolden the extremists behind them.
That’s why, I ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a resolution Congresswomen Lee, Pressley and I have introduced to condemn all acts of political violence – regardless of their target or intent – and I would urge my colleagues to support it instead.
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