Culture 'O Life
Bob Enyart, spokesman for Colorado Right to Life, which has demonstrated against Hern for decades, said that although his group doesn't condone Tiller's slaying, abortion providers should expect that violence begets violence.
"If a Mafia hit man gets killed, people recognize it's an occupational hazard," he said.
Hern has been familiar with the hazards for decades. After performing abortions for more than half of his life, the 70-year-old doctor has never been injured, but the constant threats with which he has lived since 1973 have transformed his life into a series of security measures: sleeping with a rifle, scanning rooftops for snipers, wearing a protective vest.
In 1988, a gunman fired five shots into his clinic's waiting room, prompting Hern to install four layers of bulletproof glass and an electronic security system. That year, Hern and his wife of six years divorced, a breakup Hern attributed in part to the stress of his work.
The ever-present threats made it hard to develop relationships, Hern testified at a 1999 trial in which he and other doctors sued an antiabortion group for placing their names and personal information on a "Deadly Dozen" list. "It has made me feel a great sense of personal isolation, and that has been the most painful part of this experience," Hern said, according to the Associated Press.
He and the other doctors won a verdict of about $108 million, although an appeals court later reduced that to $16 million.
Enyart has no sympathy. "The perpetrators of widespread injustice like slave traders and Nazis expect to go home and live in tranquillity. That's an absurd expectation."
1.the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes.
n. The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons.