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