The chill on conversation at the state Capitol

Possibly, you’ve already seen this piece by me and my AJC colleague Andria Simmons:

Metro Atlanta physicians who participated in the General Assembly’s debate on new abortion restrictions say they warned lawmakers that they were being targeted for reprisals. And they are skittish about returning to the state Capitol next year when the topic is all but certain to come up again.

Lawmakers, too, say they’re worried.

Two burglaries and two fires at Atlanta-area women’s clinics and a burglary at the the main office of the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society are being investigated by the FBI as possible acts of domestic terrorism or civil rights violations.

Four of the five offices targeted are run by doctors who had voiced concerns — sometimes publicly, sometimes privately — about the so-called fetal pain bill, which shortened to 20 weeks the time frame during which women can have an elective abortion.

“These are despicable acts and if there is some relationship between these acts and the legislation, then it’s even more outrageous,” said House Speaker David Ralston. “I’m concerned that Georgians might have some fear of coming to the Capitol and voicing their opinions on legislation. Obviously, that troubles me.”

Four physicians interviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, some of whom declined to be named, said they suspected — but could not prove — that whoever targeted their clinics was exceptionally well-informed about their activities in the Capitol during the 40 days of the session. Even those activities that occurred out of the public eye.

“The circle of people is not that large,” said John Walraven, a lobbyist for the Infertility and Perinatology Consortium of Georgia. “That’s what’s creepy about it.”

House Speaker David Ralston said he’d consider asking committee chairmen and their staffs to hold lists of hearing witnesses more closely. But at the end of our interview, I noted that the experience of these obstetricians paralleled that of state Rep. Ann Purcell, R-Rincon. Ralston agreed.

Purcell chaired the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, which this year refused to pass out a bill that would have allowed concealed weapons to be carried without permits. Purcell became the immediate target of telephoned death threats.

The incident was referred to the Georgia State Patrol, which is in charge of Capitol security, the speaker said.

Purcell is not running for re-election this year.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

118 comments Add your comment


June 19th, 2012
11:00 am

I wonder how concerned David would be if citizens from all over the state stormed the Capitol to demand ethics reform for elected leaders?

Road Scholar

June 19th, 2012
11:01 am

If you don’t agree with abortion or do not want one…do not have one. Otherwise, let the law stand as it was a few years ago. Stop judging people by your religious and other beliefs.

Jim S.

June 19th, 2012
11:06 am

It is truly unfortunate if a few extremists are successful in suppressing important debates about laws governing our society. I am hopeful that those responsible for these acts will be brought to justice and that we will all be mindful that the rhetoric we use to support our positions can be misconstrued by disturbed people as endorsing these types of acts. I commend the Speaker for his clear message on this issue. We can be passionate in our disagreements while making it clear that we do not condone violence and terrorism in the name of our cause(s).

Bob Loblaw

June 19th, 2012
11:10 am

Good grief @catlady. Doctors offices are burned and threats are made and all you can talk about is lobbyists gifts in response? This is serious. Put your lame politics aside for 5 minutes. You’ll surely get your “ethics” story, blog or whatever else in short order.

If You Can't Intimidate Women What's the Point in Being in the Georgia General Assembly

June 19th, 2012
11:14 am

Here’s an idea. Let’s write a bill and title it “Fetal Pain” and then act surprised when it brings out all the crazies.
How about we have a hearing titled the “At what point did Rep. Doug McKillip begin conspiring with terrorists to commit arson” hearing. Is that inflammatory enough?

Double Zero Eight

June 19th, 2012
11:17 am

What frightens an incumbent politician the most”?
1) Knowledgeable voters with good memories
2) Not being re-elected

Extremists come in third.


June 19th, 2012
11:19 am

If you look at those involved in attacks on clinics and doctors over the years, they are truly part of the “lunatic fringe”. Each and every one of them are influenced by the hate rhetoric to carry out these acts of violence and justify their actions through religious arguments. Fortunately for them the rational beliefs of the supporters of the woman’s right to choose does not rise to the same level of violence.

obi one

June 19th, 2012
11:33 am

the lunatic fringe has become the mainstream in today’s gop. the gop platform unleashes the McVeighs and Rudolphs of this mad World. sad it is.


June 19th, 2012
11:47 am

Those lunatic fringe folks are getting more arrogant in their delusions that they have the right to rule over the rest of us. I saw them at the Capitol during this debate. They get a sick sense of gratification exerting their own sense of power through bullying. They are perverts.

These people didn’t go to medical school, but feel fully justified writing bills that dictate how doctors treat their patients, and inserting themselves into what should be a private situation. They literally smirked and giggled at their success harassing and threatening lawmakers who passed it just to get these spitting monkeys off their backs.

Now they’re perpetuating their own states of arousal by escalating their bullying to a whole new level, confident that the “righteousness” of their cause will shield them from repercussions. Keep thinking that, Becker and friends. I know what you are, and so does the FBI.

Things that shine

June 19th, 2012
12:03 pm

Some yahoo state legislator chums the water with inflammatory rhetoric around a divisive issue and is surprised when there’s a shark attack? If McKillip is truly contrite about the rise of violence stemming from his grandstanding, he should introduce funding for more security cameras, alarms at the women’s health clinics.


June 19th, 2012
12:03 pm

If this was just the ‘lunatic fringe’ there wouldn’t be hundreds of phone calls. These people are organized and tied in, and if they had access to confidential conversations between lawmakers and off-the-record physicians, it wasn’t the physicians who tattled.

Lawmakers who believe they are crusaders against evil appear to be being persuaded that the end justifies the means – and the means includes the personal benefits of pandering to an extreme faction. We were treated this session to the spectacle of Dan Becker screaming and threatening lawmakers who disagreed with his appalling stance, secure in the belief that his need to force his views on everyone else is excusable because of his Righteousness.

Can anyone be surprised that this level of political facism results in attacks against those who dare to disagree?

First stop for Federal investigators should be McKillip’s office.


June 19th, 2012
12:12 pm

11 comments and no crazies yet.Interesting.

Georgia, The " New Mississippi "

June 19th, 2012
12:29 pm

Johnny Reb values rule the state capitol. Thank God Americans have the FBI and the Dept of Justice to help protect them.


June 19th, 2012
12:36 pm

Good grief, Bob! I am also concerned about the burnings and threats, as I support access to abortions. However, having the Speaker pontiicate about people expressing their concerns seems to me a bit lame, as he really doesn’t want to hear opinions of the people, as he proves with his disdain for ethics reform. Be able to think about how the two are linked FCOL!

Truth Hurts

June 19th, 2012
12:38 pm

good to see the poster ‘Georgia, The ” New Mississippi “‘ is the same ole dumb a$$.


June 19th, 2012
12:56 pm

More evidence that prudent sentient people should be “heading for the exits” if they live in the Hate States.

Less than 1% of the populace, they will want to be far away when the chimps really start hooting and howling, and targeting those who do not join in.

Question Man

June 19th, 2012
1:05 pm

Where is the sense of outrage that was heard from some quarters when a few conservative bloggers were targeted with fake 911 calls?


June 19th, 2012
1:13 pm

“…you’ve already this piece…”?


June 19th, 2012
1:16 pm

Whoops. Thanks for the catch.

New State Motto

June 19th, 2012
1:18 pm

Geogia’s new motto “I’m With Stupid”


June 19th, 2012
1:20 pm

Hey Jim:

How is the Infertility and Perinatology Consortium of Georgia involved with this, and did you specifically solicit a quote from John Walraven in his capacity as their representative?


June 19th, 2012
1:21 pm

How about reporting the “crazies” on the other side?

Pregnancy Center Vandalized After Showing Legislators Ultrasound
by Steven Ertelt | | 4/6/12 1:08 PM

A Boise, Idaho-based pregnancy center that provides women with tangible pregnancy support and abortion alternatives was vandalized after it secured national media attention for showing state legislators live ultrasounds during a committee hearing.

A rock was thrown through the window of the Stanton Healthcare clinic and Boise police have been called out and are investigating the incident.

Stanton Healthcare is a life-affirming medical clinic reaching out to women and their children in crisis and unexpected pregnancies, and is located right next to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s biggest abortion business. Stanton recently drew nationwide headlines when they organized and performed live ultrasounds in the Idaho State Capitol Building during the debate on ultrasound legislation.

During the hearing, abortion backers had to be escorted out of the ultrasound presentation for shouting and disrupting the meeting. The Founder and President of Stanton Healthcare, Brandi Swindell, has been getting Internet and email threats of violence and hateful attacks and, now, the clinic has been targeted.

Swindell is currently in Mexico working with and ministering to orphan children, so Stacey Harder, a Stanton Healthcare client advocate, responded to the vandalism.

“It is deeply troubling that someone would resort to violence against a women’s clinic that provides free care and services to women in crisis and unexpected pregnancies,” she said. “Since we performed the live ultrasounds in the Idaho Capitol Building two weeks ago, Stanton and our staff have received Internet and email threats and hateful attacks.”

“Violence has no place in America and we would hope that everyone, even those who are pro-choice, would condemn this act of violence against a women’s clinic,” Harder added. “Stanton Healthcare also wants to make it very clear to those who may be trying to intimidate us or bully us, that we will never back down or stop reaching out to needy women and their children in the Treasure Valley.”

Last year, pro-abortion vandals in Canada hit a crisis pregnancy center on three successive occasions, leading the New Brunswick Right to Life Association , which runs the center for pregnant women, to contact police.

Starting on June 29 and continuing for two additional nights, a pro-abortion vandal hit the Mother and Child House on Brunswick Street, and NBRTL director Peter Ryan described what happened for the Daily Gleaner newspaper.


“It happened on three successive nights, three different incidents,” he said. “One night they painted the word ‘Choice’ on one side of our building in large black letters and came back two other nights and ripped off our wooden flower boxes attached to the front of our building which dress it up nicely.

“They didn’t just rip out the flowers, but they went to the trouble of yanking the whole fixture off the wall, which suggests there was some animosity toward us, he added. “We suspect it’s somebody who just doesn’t like us.”

In March, 2001 pro-abortion vandals burglarized and virtually destroyed a pregnancy center in the South Bronx, just days after Mayor Michael Bloomberg signeda city council bill into law that targets such centers with heavy restrictions.

Chris Slattery, founder and president of Expectant Mother Care-EMC FrontLine Pregnancy Centers emailed about the incident.

“Our main office in the South Bronx was burglarized again. This is the second time this has happened in the past 12 months,” he said. “They broke into our facility through the second story window, stole over $5,000 worth of equipment, and virtually destroyed the office.”

In July 2009, a crisis pregnancy center in Eugene, Oregon was hit by vandals — who left pro-abortion messages on its building. The incident comes weeks after an abortion advocate attacked the national headquarters of the pro-life group Operation Rescue.

And in December 2009, a pregnancy center in Arizona was burned in an attempted arson.

Bob Loblaw

June 19th, 2012
1:21 pm

I think the Speaker has heard from you, Catlady, and everyone else. He likely understands that you want a limit on lobbyist expenditures. He disagrees.

A little different than getting death threats or being a victim of burglary/identity theft and/or arson.

Again, take your Ethics rant somewhere it belongs.

Auntie Christ

June 19th, 2012
1:31 pm

This is the same scum who for a 100 years covered their faces with bed sheets and trampled on everything moral and decent in this state, aided and abetted as now, by politicians and clergy who silently encourage them, while being careful to keep arm’s length from them. Nothing has changed. Not a single ‘leader’ in the republican party has spoken a word of censure about the Doctor’s offices being vandalized, just like the national republican’s deafening silence toward bill orally, rush lowlife, and their wannabe’s who spew hatred 24/7 over the airwaves. The republicans leadership expect us to believe that they are so very concerned when the mad dogs begin rampaging, and think we are too stupid to realize they are the ones who eagerly bred the mongrels.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

June 19th, 2012
1:33 pm

@Dawg – Lifenews huh? I guess its just the “librul media” that isn’t reporting all these “attacks” on pro life fake clinic sites? Cause really, they need to throw a rock through the window of one of these places? I’m sure there is a special FBI task force tracking attacks on Fake clinic sites….

“Both sides are bad, mmmmmmmmkay!” Moderates are a sad and gullible lot.


June 19th, 2012
1:34 pm

Dawg ‘88, if you have to go trolling around your wingnut sites to play a “I iz a bigger victim!!!” card, at least give the link instead of spamming your attention hog cut ‘n paste.

I realize you think it’s ALL ABOUT YOU, but just pretend it’s not for one minute.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

June 19th, 2012
1:37 pm

What encourages the extremists is that Moderates have proven that they don’t have a core ideology…they just want to be warm and snug ‘in the center’. Republicans have moved farther to the right than they have in 40 years, and proudly proclaim such, yet Mitt Romney is at 50/50 with Obama in the national polls.

When you look at this you can either go with contards and say that this is a ‘center right’ nation OR

That moderates don’t really MEAN what they say about hating ‘extremism’ and that no matter how extreme your ideology, moderates will say ‘both sides are bad mmmmmmkay’ just because they like to be special special snow flakes…

Which means if you’re a dem or a progressive take note….your restraint is not noticed by Moderates, and is not rewarded electorally. If anything it hurts you with some groups.

Conversely, you can still target Republican bases; the churches, rural areas, red states, and businesses that contribute exclusively to the Republican party or that are owned by billionaires contributing to super pacs and that moderates WILL NOT punish you for it.


June 19th, 2012
1:39 pm

Funny how those stories are unreported. Funny how those who do this aren’t branded lunatics.

Someone above said stay out of our business. Don’t want an abortion…don’t have one. Keep your relgious beliefs to yourself.

No….thats not what a Christian does. You speak when the Truth is being subverted. Secularism is a religion of those who refuse to believe in the Truth. Why do those who are faithful have to accept your immoral ideas and practices.

Don’t force me to accept your beliefs is what you say…but I must accept yours? Amazing logic.

What is abortion?

The dismemberment of a human child…the baby is torn apart. The arms and legs are cut off. The rest of the body is mutilated. They are thrown in trash cans. When the instrument is inserted…the baby moves away from it…fighting for its life. Then it is dismembered.

Its an ugly truth that you on here dare to ignore and shy away from. You look but do not see. Those who do violence on either side are wrong and should be condemned. But I never hear that radical Pro Death believers are guilty of the same tactic that is being condemned.

Convenient ignorance.

Someone also said…its the law. Yeah…good argument.
Segregation was the law too. Should that have been Martin Luther King’s attitude. Just let the law be. Its often said that its “my body”….no its somebody elses too. Why should a baby die and have no rights.

Real/Christian Pro Life advocates want life respected. The comments on here show careless disregard for the human person. I will pray that you convert your immoral thoughts and beliefs. But remember one thing…God is watching.

When judgement comes…what will be your answer when asked what did you do to protect the “Holy Innocents”…God’s children. You can’t plead ignorance or that it was not your duty to do something about it.

Some say don’t judge….that has been taken out of context and purposely misrepresented forever. Judgement in the form of condemning someone to Hell or eternal punishment is not our decision…true enough.

But you as a Christian believer must judge actions and ideas as wrong and against the Natural Law. Anyting that subverts the Natural Law is not authentic law. Hitler’s generals always said that they just did what they were told and followed the law.

After the Nuremburg trials….they hung them for the crimes against humanity. Abortion is the modern day Holocaust and is a crime against humanity. Those who look the other way or ignore it or support it are sliding down a slippery slope. God help those who don’t fight for the most vulnerable…the unborn.

God is Pro Life….

Former Moderate

June 19th, 2012
1:48 pm

Ok, I’m calling this one at 1:21 PM EST. The crazies took over this thread and it’s officially dead.


June 19th, 2012
1:52 pm

Aquagirl…not surprised by your personal attack. That is what your side does. Verbal insults because you have a serious lack of faith and understanding. I don’t troll around to “wingnut” sites. Plus, to link it means you can ignore it….So it did its job as proof by your less than honorable post.
Lifenews is not a “wingnut” site. It is only a site to show the true side of the abortion industry.

I don’t troll. Thos site that are extreme I avoid…but this one helps do God’s work. Former abortion rights advocates even write for it now to expose the genocide that they once supported. They have come to know that killing an innocent child is not a right.

You couldn;t ignore it or dispute any of it…so thanks for the insult in a way…it proves I got your attention. Personal attacks don’t answer a single part of what I said…I forgive you though. Jesus said that we would be condemned in His name…

Wasn’t saying that “there is a bigger victim” on the pro life side. Any violent attack is immoral and wrong. Please get the facts straight.And one more thing:

Its not about me…nowhere did I show any need for attention for myself. I want babies to stop being dismembered and thrown in incinerators. I want God’s children to stop being attacked in the womb and fighting for their lives. I want to do God’s will.

You see its not about me…its about those millions of others who had their lives snuffed out because too many have remained sliently deafening. Your post is disturbing and sad. But I pray for those who choose to ignore the Truth and insult those who embrace it.

Its not about you or me….its about God’s children.

When you realize it…you’ll be better off for it!

Auntie Christ

June 19th, 2012
1:54 pm

I’ll bet ole dawg 1888 just loves shock and awe when it’s brought down on living, breathing Arab children. If he doesn’t, he is definitely the exception among the ‘pro life’ crowd. Their oh so deep concern ends when the child is actually born, and inconveniently needs food, shelter and nurturing. And if the child has the misfortune to be born poor, or brown, or to Muslim parents, their concern declines proportionately.


June 19th, 2012
1:55 pm

Funny how those stories are unreported. Funny how those who do this aren’t branded lunatics.Someone above blah blah blah blah blahcakes

You know, if wingnuts spent 1/100th of the effort on ex-fetuses that they do on long internet screeds and creepy legislation, I might think they were seriously concerned about babies.


June 19th, 2012
1:57 pm

Aaron Burr V Mexico…there aren’t “fake pro life clinic”.
Amazing how folks like you make up lies.
Obviously you have never read lifenews. They will
condemn and report things done wrongly in the name of the Pro life

so find some facts before making up lies.
Satan is “…the father of lies…a murderer from the beginning.”
Please reject his teachings and embrace life.

muddy waters

June 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

Man, most of these comments make so much sense. Is it a Hater holiday today, or something?


June 19th, 2012
1:58 pm

conservative christians and islamic fundamentalists are two peas in the same warped pod.

muddy waters

June 19th, 2012
1:59 pm

Oops, I spoke to soon. Now back to your normal, knuckle dragging commenter programming.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

June 19th, 2012
2:01 pm

Did I just hear a conservative mention the Nuremberg trials?

Sorry, war crimes don’t mean anything anymore.

We prosecuted water boarding as torture in WWII.
We prosecuted torture as a war crime in WWII.
We prosecuted leaders who encouraged or promoted torture as war criminals in WWII.
We have signed an international treaty that makes torture a war crime irregardless of the geneva convention.
We have tortured regular combatants, not just ‘irregular combatants.’
George W Bush admitted publicly on prime time television he authorized torture.

Republicans and Moderates throw apoplectic fits when you accuse Bush of being a war criminal.
Party democrats froth at the mouth and howl in protest when you object to Obama not prosecuting Bush.

Bush is a war criminal.
Obama is an enabler.

Please stop talking about Nuremberg you #$%#$%# hypocrite.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

June 19th, 2012
2:01 pm

@Dawg – When you pretend to be an abortion clinic and you don’t perform abortions you’re fake.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

June 19th, 2012
2:03 pm

@Former Moderate – Why not be crazy? Moderates don’t reward restraint.

Both sides are bad no matter what they do in independent eyes.


June 19th, 2012
2:04 pm

“Fake Clinics”…Mythical Propaganda


Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs) have come under attack by various pro-abortion organizations. CPCs or PRCs (Pregnancy Resource Centers) are not-for-profit organizations that serve women across the United States. Below are some common myths that have been spread about these centers and the real facts.

What is a Crisis Pregnancy Center?

A crisis pregnancy center is a non-profit community center or clinic which:

•Primarily serves pregnant women and mothers of infants.
•Is not an abortion provider.
•Does not charge for any of its services.
There are approximately 2200 crisis pregnancy centers in the United States.

Myth 1: CPCs are “fake clinics.”
Pregnancy centers come in two types. The first is a traditional crisis pregnancy center or pregnancy resource center. They are not clinics and do not pretend to be, although in most states they are able to offer pregnancy tests and prenatal vitamins. They provide numerous social services, including parenting classes, options counseling, baby supplies, and other financial aid.

The second type is a Pregnancy Help Medical Clinic. Theses are licensed clinics working under the direction of an M.D. Medical services provided vary from clinic to clinic, but often include ultrasounds, on-site prenatal exams, and/or STD testing. In neither case can these be considered “fake clinics.”

Myth 2: CPCs only care about preventing abortions.
CPCs want to help women, no matter what their circumstance; not only the abortion-minded, but also women who have chosen adoption or parenting, women whose babies have already been born, and women struggling with a prior abortion..

Myth 3: CPCs use volunteers who are unqualified.
CPCs do utilize volunteers (and so does Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider!) All CPC volunteers undergo training to ensure that they are qualified to assist women and the unborn.

Myth 4: All CPCs have religious affiliations.
Some do and some do not; many respectable non-profits have religious affiliations. People who make this claim are usually implying something further: religious discrimination. This is patently false. No CPC will refuse a client on the basis of her religion.

Myth 5: CPCs pressure women into agreeing to adoption.
CPCs work to empower women to make the best choice for themselves and their babies, whether this means raising a child or placing him or her up for adoption. No CPC will ever try to forcefully coerce a woman into agreeing to an adoption.


June 19th, 2012
2:04 pm


June 19th, 2012
2:05 pm

God approves of late-term abortion. After all, he sacrificed his only son.


June 19th, 2012
2:06 pm

When you pretend to be an abortion clinic and you don’t perform abortions you’re fake.

That whole thing about not bearing false witness is for heathens and babbykillers. It doesn’t apply to Real True Christians(tm).

Aaron Burr V Mexico

June 19th, 2012
2:06 pm

@Dawg – Can provide a link to counter any link you provide.

@Stupid Neutral Observers – The media would love to report an explosion. If a radical ‘pro choice’ group bombed a fake abortion clinic, you’d hear about it. You haven’t.

Use what little logic skills you have. Also remember that conservatives lie.

Oh I know…’both sides lie…uhuhuhuhuh …der…..”

Moderates are so dumb.


June 19th, 2012
2:26 pm


It’s not spelled out in the story, but Walraven was the lobbyist who arranged physician meetings and testimony for the ob-gyn side during debate.


June 19th, 2012
2:40 pm

Bob: Okay, you may be right. Perhaps the link I see is too subtle to discern.

I hope those who have committed these crimes will be caught and prosecuted.

East Lake Ira

June 19th, 2012
2:46 pm

Bob Loblaw

June 19th, 2012
2:47 pm

We agree on that. See you on Jay’s page for further stimulating debate on lobbyists! :)

Attack Dog

June 19th, 2012
2:50 pm

Women must pay attention to how Dixiecrats are allowing history to retrogress, they put on a surprise face.

Real American

June 19th, 2012
2:51 pm

Poor Dawg 88…….to be that gullible must be painful.