Vicki Saporta, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation, on the passing of former Attorney General Janet Reno and her legacy addressing anti-abortion violence:
NAF and our members mourn the death of former Attorney General Janet Reno, a woman of great integrity who understood the impact of appropriate law enforcement response to anti-abortion violence. She knew that you couldn’t necessarily prevent violence, but she understood that there were steps she could take to make a difference, and she took them.
Not only did she establish the National Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers, she also added violent anti-abortion criminals, James Kopp and Eric Robert Rudolph, to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. This ensured that resources were available to find, arrest, and prosecute Rudolph for the bombing of an abortion clinic that resulted in the death of an off-duty police officer, and Kopp for the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Buffalo, NY. When abortion providers were under serious direct threat, Attorney General Reno also dispatched U.S. Marshals to protect them. For more than a decade, these steps, among others, served as a deterrent against extreme violence targeting abortion providers, and undoubtedly saved lives.
Attorney General Reno, in an address to our members in 1999, said:
“NAF has consistently emphasized to us that the better the communication between law enforcement and providers in the field, the more effective the law enforcement response to clinic violence can be. And I agree. I urge you to establish a relationship with the working group in your district. If you get a runaround, call me.”
“Thank you for standing up for what is right. And thank you for all that you do.”
NAF and our members remain extraordinarily grateful to former Attorney General Reno. Her legacy lives on through the Task Force she established, which we continue to rely upon to investigate and prosecute anti-abortion threats and violence, and the steps she took as Attorney General to save lives.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia.
Alissa Manzoeillo, National Abortion Federation
202.667.5881, ext 219; 202.595.4395 (after hours/cell)