July 13, 1996 in Nation/World

Militias Infiltrate Abortion Opponents Planned Parenthood Bombing Fits Into Agenda Of White Supremacists

Jim Lynch Karen Dorn Steele Contribu Staff writer

The Planned Parenthood bombing fits into the agenda of militant right-wing groups infiltrating the anti-abortion movement.

National experts say a faction of the “pro-life” movement attracts white supremacists and uses their weapons: arson, bombs and murder.

Some violent anti-abortion crusaders also share spiritual convictions with a racist, self-styled posse called the Phineas Priesthood, which has long roots in the Northwest.

Members of the priesthood see it as their duty to murder people for “disobeying God’s laws” on abortion, homosexuality, race-mixing and other “crimes.”

Authorities already suspect members of this group may have been involved in the April 1 twin bombings at The Spokesman-Review Valley office and U.S. Bank.

Those bombers left behind menacing letters that referenced white supremacy beliefs promoted by the Aryan Nations and other Christian Identity churches. The signatures resembled the emblem for the priesthood - a capital letter “P” superimposed on a cross.

There apparently were no messages left by Friday’s bombers, but Spokane’s Planned Parenthood leaders doubt their office was attacked solely as a ruse to distract attention from the ensuing bank robbery.

“It’s mighty suspicious,” said Executive Director Sandra Meicher. “You don’t blow up your friends. There’s a reason they picked us.”

Spokane’s anti-abortion rallies peaked in 1989 when 34 protesters were arrested for breaking a court order and trespassing into the Sixth Avenue Medical Building. Protests continue to be a common, weekly occurrence at some clinics.

A leader says the protests are peaceful.

“The most violent thing we do at Planned Parenthood is share the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Jim Anderson, director of Lifeline Ministries.

Anderson said his organization is careful not to let potentially violent people participate.

He also suggested the Friday clinic bombing was a criminal’s diversionary tactic, not the work of anti-abortion activists. “There’s that element in society period,” he said.

The organization’s Valley office, at 20 S. Pines, has not been a primary target of the protests. It’s a hard-to-find, quiet clinic that provides counseling, not abortions, and doesn’t attract protests.

While none of the city’s Planned Parenthood clinics has ever been bombed or burned before, violence has raged for years elsewhere.

After Paul Hill, a Presbyterian minister, murdered an abortion-clinic doctor and escort in Florida in 1994, he used Bible passages about the priest named Phineas to justify the killings.

Phineas killed two sinners with a single spear and became a symbol of righteous zeal. The Phineas Priesthood uses the tale as justification to crusade against race-mixing.

In 1994, the Justice Department investigated the increasing fusion between a group made up of Hill’s anti-abortion followers and emerging militia advocates.

National experts also indicate neo-Nazi and other racist terrorist groups are increasingly seizing on abortion as a rallying point for the “white revolution.”

, DataTimes The following fields overflowed: BYLINE = Jim Lynch Staff writer Staff writer Karen Dorn Steele contributed to this report.

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