Expressing the Sense of Congress Condemning the Recent Attacks on Pro- Life Facilities, Groups, and Churches

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 11, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Ms. DeGETTE. Madam Speaker, if my Republican colleagues want to condemn the growing level of political violence in this country, let's do it together.

That is not what this resolution does. What it does is 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 healthcare clinics throughout the country.

It doesn't condemn the bricks that have crashed through windows at providers' offices or the assaults, kidnappings, and even the murders of doctors and healthcare 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.

Madam Speaker, I include in the Record a resolution that Congresswomen Lee and Pressley and I have introduced to condemn all acts of political violence, regardless of their target or intent, and I urge my colleagues to support it instead.

Whereas workplace violence ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide;

Whereas, for decades, health care personnel for women and people who access reproductive health care services have been subjected to intimidation, threats, and violence;

Whereas between 1977 and 2015--

(1) nearly 7,000 violent acts were reported against providers at health centers for women, including bombings, arsons, death threats, kidnappings, and assaults; and

(2) more than 190,000 acts of disruption, including bomb threats and harassing calls, were reported;

Whereas, between 1993 and 2015, there were 11 murders, numerous attempted murders, 42 bombings, and 186 arsons targeted at individuals and facilities associated with care provided at health centers for women;

Whereas between 1993 and 2015, the 11 victims of anti- choice violence include Dr. David Gunn of Pensacola, Florida, in 1993; Dr. John Bayard Britton and a volunteer, James Barrett, both of Pensacola, Florida, in 1994; clinic receptionists Shannon Lowney and Leanne Nichols, both of Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1994; Dr. Barnett Slepian of Buffalo, New York, in 1998; clinic securitv guard Robert Sanderson of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1998; Dr. George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas, in 2009; and police officer Garrett Swasey, Ke'Arre Stewart, and Jennifer Markovsky, all of whom were lost during a violent attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 2015;

Whereas, in 2016, two defendants vandalized a Baltimore, Maryland, area abortion clinic on two separate occasions, with one defendant pleading guilty and the other convicted at trial of Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act violations;

Whereas, in 2017, a defendant sent several threatening emails to abortion clinics located in Chicago, Illinois, and Hammond, Indiana, and the defendant pled guilty to FACE Act and other Federal offenses;

Whereas, in 2018, a defendant directed a threatening social media post to Planned Parenthood facilities and staff and defendant pled guilty to Federal offenses, including a FACE Act charge;

Whereas, in 2019, a defendant was indicted for FACE Act violations and other Federal offenses related to a 2015 shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he shot at several civilians and police officers, killing two civilians and one officer, while injuring several others;

Whereas, in 2020, a defendant pled guiltv to FACE Act related offenses in connection with a bomb threat call the defendant made to a Jacksonville, Florida, abortion clinic;

Whereas, in 2021, a defendant pled guilty to a FACE Act violation and other State felony offenses for throwing a Molotov cocktail at a Fort Myers, Florida, abortion clinic;

Whereas, in 2022, a defendant was indicted for FACE Act violations after he assaulted a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area Planned Parenthood clinic escort twice on the same date, with one assault resulting in bodily injury; and

Whereas extreme rhetoric continues to fuel a hate-filled climate that is dangerous for individuals who provide or access comprehensive health care services: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) condemns all acts of political violence;

(2) condemns attacks on health care facilities, health care personnel, and patients;

(3) affirms that all people have the freedom to access reproductive health care services and medical advice without fear of violence, intimidation, or harassment; and

(4) calls upon the Biden administration to use all appropriate authorities to uphold public safety, to protect health care facilities, and safeguard health care personnel and patients.


Ms. DeGETTE. Madam Speaker, the resolved part of our resolution says this, and I think all of my colleagues should be able to join this.

Resolved, that the U.S. House of Representatives condemns all acts of political violence; 2, condemns attacks on healthcare facilities, healthcare personnel, and patients; and 3, affirms that all people have the freedom to access reproductive healthcare services and medical advice without fear of violence, intimidation, or harassment.

Isn't that what this is all about in this country, fear from violence? No violence, everybody gets the healthcare services they want and they deserve without fear of being killed.