ACLU Salutes Abortion Providers on National Day of Appreciation (March 10)

March 8, 1999 12:00 am

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Monday, March 8, 1999

NEW YORK — The American Civil Liberties Union is proud to stand today in support of abortion providers nationwide who have demonstrated remarkable courage, perseverance and an unwavering commitment to women.

This year, to help you express your thanks, we are providing Internet users with a certificate of appreciation that can be signed and presented to abortion providers. We urge those who care about the right to choose to use the certificate to thank the people who make that right a reality.

While today is a day of appreciation, March 10 also commemorates the anniversary of a tragic event: the 1993 murder of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola, Florida. In the six years since that violent act, anti-choice extremists have continued to harass and intimidate doctors and their families, including young children.

Indeed, as a National Abortion Federation study documents, the number of attacks against abortion providers is growing, with 19 bombings or arsons since January 1997. Last October, the murder toll grew with the shooting death of Dr. Barnett Slepian of Amherst, New York. Dr. Slepian was cut down by a sniper in his own home, in front of his family.

Another recent tactic of anti-choice extremists is to terrorize clinic staff and disrupt services by sending letters that are purportedly infused with lethal anthrax bacteria These actions are part of a deliberate campaign to eliminate women’s access to abortion by closing clinics and threatening health care providers.

The ACLU realizes that today, 26 years after Roe v. Wade, the reality of a woman’s right to choose abortion rests on the courage and compassion of doctors and clinic workers. We stand in awe of their determination to provide this essential medical service in the face of malice, threats and all-too-real danger.

Today, as the ACLU recognizes and appreciates these heroes of the pro-choice movement, we also renew our commitment to protecting a woman’s fundamental right to choose — and access — abortion.

The ACLU, at the forefront of the struggle for reproductive rights since its inception in 1920, is the only pro-choice legal organization with a presence in all 50 states. In 1974 it founded the Reproductive Freedom Project to coordinate the legal, legislative, and public defense of the endangered rights secured by Roe v. Wade.

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