NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts called on Rep. Jim Lyons to issue an immediate apology for recent remarks in which he compared anti-choice efforts to defund Planned Parenthood to the Revolutionary War, echoing the history of violence against abortion clinics in the United States.
“Rep. Lyons’ remarks are beyond the pale. There is a longstanding campaign of violence and intimidation that endangers providers and patients of abortion and reproductive health care services. For a sitting state legislator to use such inflammatory rhetoric is irresponsible and dangerous,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Executive Director Megan Amundson.
Speaking at an anti-choice protest outside Planned Parenthood in Allston this past Saturday morning, Lyons exclaimed, “I want you to go back to 1776… [Planned Parenthood] is nowhere near as strong as the opponent that our forefathers had to take on.”
“These remarks reference a violent and bloody period of our history. It is wrong, and an exercise in bad judgement, to invoke a framework of violence in relation to a woman’s right to access safe, legal health care,” said Amundson. “Without question this reckless speech demands an immediate and public apology to the clinic workers and patients who should never have to fear for their own personal safety in providing or accessing reproductive health care.”
Two workers were murdered and five wounded at two abortion clinics in Brookline, MA in 1994 by an anti-abortion gunman. In the past 25 years, eight clinic workers – including four doctors, two clinic employees, a clinic escort, and a security guard – have been murdered in the United States, in addition to seventeen attempted murders.In fact, opponents of abortion have directed more than 6,800 reported acts of violence against abortion providers since abortion was legalized, including bombings, arsons, death threats, bioterrorism threats, and assaults, as well as more than 188,000 reported acts of disruption, including bomb threats, hate mail, and harassing phone calls.
“Rep. Lyons’ speech represents a concerning trend of lawmakers using extreme language to attack women’s health care in order to pander to ideological agendas,” Amundson said. “This rhetoric is far out of step with the values of our community and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts will not tolerate the harassment and intimidation of women,families, and health care workers.”