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NATIONAL ABORTION FEDERATION CALLS FOR SWEEPING INVESTIGATION OF ANTI-CHOICE VIOLENCE

 WASHINGTON, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In the month since President Clinton's inauguration, two "suspicious" fires in as many weeks have done at least $1.5 million in damage to facilities which provide abortions. The National Abortion Federation (NAF), a membership association representing over 300 providers of abortion services nationwide, called on the White House and the new Justice Department today to initiate a massive investigation into violence against abortion facilities.
 "People are in danger," said Barbara Radford, NAF's executive director. "We expected that anti-choice extremists would increase their violent tactics once a pro-choice president was in office -- but this immediate rash of serious attacks is more threatening than we predicted. We ask President Clinton to order the Justice Department to conduct an immediate investigation into these crimes and the national conspiracy that is violence against abortion providers."
 The most recent arson, at Reproductive Services in Corpus Christi, Texas, took place on Monday, Feb. 15. The fire destroyed not only the clinic, but four other businesses in the building as well. Damages for this fire alone exceeded $1 million, by far the highest damages ever reported to NAF for one incident of anti-choice violence. "Most incidents of arson in the past have taken place in free-standing clinics, with no other businesses damaged. Apparently, the violent element don't care any longer who else they hurt," Radford said. "The stakes are now that much higher."
 The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) holds primary responsibility for investigation of such incidents. "BATF has done an excellent job with the resources they have," Radford said. "However, the scope of the problem clearly demands a greater and broader commitment. We would like President Clinton and the Justice Department to put all the Resources at their disposal to work to put a stop to this crisis." Of 28 arsons and firebombings at abortion clinics from 1990 through 1992, in only one has a suspect been arrested.
 Radford expresses hope that President Clinton would take swift action in response to the problem. "The President has already demonstrated his commitment to a woman's right to choose when and whether to bear a child," she said. "He has also declared his firm opposition to violence such as this. We feel confident that he will do everything he can to protect the rights and the safety of women and their health care providers, and to put an end to this reign of terror."
 "Anti-choice activists have already delivered on their promise to increase violence against abortion providers after Clinton's election," Radford said. "It is imperative that President Clinton deliver on his promises to women, and ensure that they have not only the right to choose abortion, but to choose it safely."
 -0- 2/16/93
 /CONTACT: Barbara Radford of the National Abortion Federation, 202-667-5881/


CO: National Abortion Federation ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU:

DC -- DC012 -- 6840 02/16/93 13:49 EST
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Date:Feb 16, 1993
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