This post includes stories of terrorism and murder.
Two anti abortion manuals were published in 1985. One of these was written by a man so extreme he’d been kicked out of the National Right to Life Committee. It detailed legal and illegal methods of clinic disruption, from blockades to stalking, pickets to pipe bombs. The book became a Bible to the anti choice Christian right.
The author founded the Pro-Life Action Network, an Orwellian named terrorist group which met in 1985 at a motel to celebrate their successes. Members wore firecrackers with their name tags. They read aloud a letter from an imprisoned arsonist, and celebrated his crime. The kiosk bore the crass joke “Have a blast”. This meeting further radicalized the men in attendance.
Toward the end of 1984 there were fifteen bombings over four months. The scale of violence forced “pro life” figures to at last condemn it. President Reagan, the archbishop to Chicago and leader of the Pro-Life Committee of the Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke against the bombings, as did Moral Majority leader Rev. Jerry Falwell. Their condemnations disagreed on tactics, not on goals. They all agreed women and others with wombs should not have access to abortion or contraception.
In February of 1985 twelve members of a fundamentalist church and their pastor pled no contest to violating a court order that allowed them to picket a San Diego, California clinic but forbid them from shouting at patients. The clinic had been firebombed the previous November, with no arrests made. In 1987 eight members of the same group were arrested for a failed firebombing of the same clinic.
That December an evangelical married father set fire to two Mount Auburn, Massachusetts clinics. He was not arrested and in February of 1987 he attempted to use a pipe bomb to destroy the new location of one of those clinics. That bomb was discovered and removed before it exploded, and he was finally arrested.
One bomber credited a column written by Pat Robertson as the inspiration for his violence. There were 22 successful bombings and arson attacks on clinics in 1985 (down from 30 in 1984), while Army of God manual disruption tactics from blockades to property damage increased from the year before.