At least 15 abortion and birth control clinics across the country have been bombed, burned, vandalized or invaded by abortion foes in the past year, according to the National Abortion Rights Action League.
The most recent incident was a late evening fire March 1 at the Akron Ohio) Women's Clinic that police and fire officials described as arson, according to NARAL.
Among other incidents listed by NARAL were the burning of Planned Parenthood administrative offices in St. Paul, Minn., early in 1977; the discovery of an unexploded bomb at the group's abortion clinic a year later, and a fire reportedly set with gasoline at the Ladies Clinic in Omaha last August.
At the Concerned Women's Clinic in Cleveland, upholstery, phone lines and medical equipment were ripped up and a lab technician had gasoline thrown in her eyes by a nighttime interloper, NARAL said.
Locally, NARAL listed damage to the Planned Parenthood offices in the District and harassment of the Northern Virginia Women's Medical Center by demonstrators.
NARAL said most of the bombing and burning incidents occurred at night. Karen Mulhauser, NARAL executive director, called them "serious, horrible" actions by "those who opposed women's rights to choose."
In a telephone interview, spokeswoman Christine Brim said NARAL isn't charging that the attacks are being coordinated by any one organization. But she said a growing atmosphere of intolerence and violence around the abortion issue is encouraging such incidents.
The abortion issue has become one of the most embittered controversies on Capitol Hill. Abortion foes, including the National March for Life and the U.S. Catholic Conference, have been pressing for restrictions. Congress for the past two years has sought to add riders to the appropriations bill for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare designed to reduce federal funding of free abortions for low-income women be made this year.
Nellie J. Gray, president of the anti-abortion March for Life, said her organization "does not condone violence" of the type described by NARAL "even though abortion itself is pure violence." She said, "On Jan. 23, 1978, I led 100,000 pro-life Americans past the White House and down Pennsylvania Avenue without one police incident."
Without complete investigations and police reports there is no way of knowing who conducted the attacks on the clinics, Gray said, suggesting that it could have been distraught abortion patients and friends or even clinic employees who had turned against abortion.