News Violence

Vandal Attacks New Hampshire Planned Parenthood With Hatchet

Dennis Carter

The Claremont vandalism is part of a flurry of attacks on Planned Parenthood facilities since the front group the Center for Medical Progress began its smear campaign in coordination with Republican lawmakers and extremist anti-choice groups.

See more of our coverage on recent attacks against Planned Parenthood here.

The spate of violence against Planned Parenthood facilities continued Wednesday in Claremont, New Hampshire, when an intruder destroyed phones, medical equipment, and computers with a hatchet, according to police officials, two weeks after “murderer” was spray-painted onto that same facility.

A committee in New Hampshire’s GOP-majority legislature voted in early August to cut off funding to Planned Parenthood in the wake of heavily edited and widely discredited videos released by an anti-choice front group charging that Planned Parenthood had violated fetal tissue donation laws.

Police did not describe the suspected vandal beyond identifying the person as a juvenile, who was caught at the scene of the crime. No one was hurt in the attack on the Claremont Planned Parenthood, which does not provide abortion care. Local police officials have bolstered security around the facility since graffiti was found on its walls, and are reportedly considering stepping up security once again after this week’s vandalism.

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The Claremont vandalism is part of a flurry of attacks on Planned Parenthood facilities since the front group known as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) began its smear campaign in coordination with Republican lawmakers and extremist anti-choice groups.

State and federal investigations have yet to find evidence that Planned Parenthood violated any law. Republican legislators launching these investigations, however, have used the CMP videos as reason for why Planned Parenthood should lose all government funding, even though those funds aren’t used for fetal tissue research donations.

A Planned Parenthood facility in Southern California was set on fire in early October, while a Planned Parenthood clinic in Pullman, Washington, was set ablaze in September. An unidentified person in August poured gasoline on a recently laid foundation and a security guard’s car at the construction site of the Planned Parenthood facility in New Orleans.

“This illegal activity is the second incident in New Hampshire since the recent escalation of attacks against Planned Parenthood,” Jennifer Frizzell, vice president for public policy for Planned Parenthood Northern New England, told WCVB. “These acts have no place in New Hampshire.”

A police official told WCVB that the Claremont facility had never been attacked in 18 years of operation.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) spoke out against the ongoing attacks on Planned Parenthood facilities.

“These acts of vandalism are an attack on the fundamental right of women to access health care, and should be strongly condemned by all,” Hassan said in a statement. “The women of the Claremont region will be without access to these services while this damage is repaired. It is long past time to end extreme attempts to block access to critical health services for women.”

Threats of violence against reproductive health-care providers has doubled since 2010, according to a nationwide survey released in February. The percentage of clinics affected by threats and targeted intimidation tactics increased from 26.6 percent to 51.9 percent over a five-year stretch.

In February, duVergne Gaines, director of the National Clinic Access Project and an author of the survey, said of anti-choice activists: “They are emboldened. They feel as though they can intimidate with impunity. That I see has a direct relationship to these legislative attacks.”

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