Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Federal Agents Will Protect Certain Abortion Clinics

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Federal Agents Will Protect Certain Abortion Clinics

Article excerpt

Federal agents were dispatched Saturday to certain abortion clinics across the country to provide 24-hour protection, one day after a doctor and his escort were shot dead at a clinic in Pensacola, Fla.

Rand Rock, the U.S. marshal for Kansas, said U.S. marshal's deputies had been assigned to the two clinics in Wichita, Kan., where abortions are performed: Women's Health Care Services and Wichita Family Planning clinic.

Sources said the marshals were targeting hot spots around the country, particularly clinics that have experienced violent incidents. Rock said: "All I can say is that there is going to be some round-the-clock protection at the two clinics in Wichita."

He said the order came down Saturday afternoon from Eduardo Gonzalez, director of the U.S. Marshals Service in Washington.

Peggy Jarman, spokeswoman for physician George Tiller, owner of Women's Health Care Services, said a Wichita police officer and a marshal's deputy were given the keys to Tiller's clinic Saturday night.

Last Aug. 19, Tiller was shot and wounded as he drove away from his clinic. Shelley Shannon, 38, of Grants Pass, Ore., was convicted in that incident and sentenced to 11 years in prison.

An official at a St. Louis clinic where abortions are performed knew of no plans to send federal marshals to the St. Louis area.

The source, Amelia McCracken, an administrator at Reproductive Health Services in the Central West End said: "We have no reason at this time to require troops, and I hope we don't have the need to."

She said a handful of orderly demonstrators picketed Reproductive Health Services on Saturday.

The three shootings Friday in Pensacola prompted a call by abortion-rights advocates and members of Congress for stepped-up federal action to target anti-abortion extremists.

"The growing crisis of violence at abortion clinics is absolutely unacceptable, and the federal government must use all necessary resources to put an immediate end to such violence," said Rep. …

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