The Rev. Jerry Falwell, a leading abortion opponent, predicted yesterday that bombings and other violence against abortion clinics will intensify until Congress or the Supreme Court imposes new restrictions on the availability of abortions.
Falwell, who was criticized by D.C. Mayor Marion Barry for not taking a tough enough stand against a rash of incidents around the country, called a press conference at National Airport to appeal for an end to such acts, one day after President Reagan made a strong statement against the bombings.
But in response to questions, the Moral Majority leader compared the bombings to the urban violence that occurred during the late 1960's and said he doubted there was much law enforcement officials could do to stop it.
"I think that it's going to intensify, because there are many persons -- again I think deranged persons -- who see little progress in the pro-life effort and who feel they are doing God's service by doing such a terrible thing," he said.
"Though I deplore what is happening, my opinion is that it's going to increase until the abortion problem ceases."
Abortion rights activists agreed yesterday that there could be an increase in the violence as Jan. 22, the 12th anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that liberalized abortion law, approaches.
But they accused Falwell of stirring up anti-abortion hysteria with his TV programs and mass mailings while proclaiming his concern over the violence.
"It seems to me Mr. Falwell protesteth too much," said William H. Hamilton, director of the Washington office of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
"I don't have any information that Falwell is part of a conspiracy, but he keeps fanning the fires that lead to this sort of erratic behavior by some of their more zealous followers."
Nanette Falkenberg, executive director of the National Abortion Rights Action League, said that the right-to-life groups "could do more and know more" about the violent acts.
Falkenberg said she believes Falwell and other anti-abortion leaders are on the defensive because of the public uproar over the bombings. She said they are now trying to shift attention from the violence to the morality of abortion.
"If they felt the bombing was as bad as they say, they could cooperate more in giving information," she said. "We're getting bare minimum condemnation. I think we're getting what they have to say so that they can keep their position credible. But I do think they could do more to stop it."
Meanwhile, D.C. police reported that three small smoke bombs were placed in an apartment hallway outside the door of a Southeast Washington Planned Parenthood clinic yesterday.
Police said the noon incident did not cause any injuries or damage to the Ophelia Egypt Clinic, 3320 Stanton Rd. SE. A member of the police bomb disposal unit said the smoke bombs are of the type that are "legal to use, possess and sell in the District because they don't emit a noise, leave the ground or explode."
A spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) said his agency's investigation of Tuesday's bombing at the Hillcrest Women's Surgi-Center, 3233 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, was "moving along expeditiously."
"I expect this case to break but I wouldn't categorize when," he said.
During his press conference, Falwell issued a plea to "any person out there who may be listening to or reading these words" to refrain from engaging in violent acts.
"If you really believe that human life is precious and believe the unborn deserve protection, don't do some dastardly thing like bombing an abortion clinic and thus set the effort back decades," he said.