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Allow me to clearly state what Amanda Ripley did not in her incisive cover story (“Terrorists and Saints,” 2/5): John Brockhoeft, John Arena, Cheryl Richardson, et al. are sick, dangerous, and violent criminals who show neither respect nor regard for a woman’s legal right to pursue termination of a pregnancy, for an individual’s right to pursue employment in a safe and protected workplace, or for the basic sanctity of human life. The scare tactics of the anti-abortion forces are bred out of ignorance, fear, and political vulnerability. It is simply dishonest to center the debate on “innocent unborn children” when the true battle lies in access to family planning and contraceptive services, sex education at an early age, and meaningful gender equality. (Forget holding the door for me—make 76 cents on my dollar and we can talk.)

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Part of me wishes the Washington City Paper hadn’t dedicated even one-eighth of a column inch to this faction (unless the White Rose Banquet had shown up in News of the Weird), while part of me knows Ripley’s careful coverage made the right conclusion inevitable—the fine line between advocating for and defending violence is a smoke screen for which the American people can no longer stand. Either wear your pro-Rudolph T-shirt or picture him sitting in his truck, remote control in hand, awaiting the arrival of clinic workers before detonation of his nail bomb.

Either wave your plastic fetuses and bloody photographs, or hold a woman as she bleeds to death on a back alley operating table after a botched abortion.

Either celebrate the assassination of a doctor dedicated to providing truly comprehensive health care to women, or step up to the plate and condemn violence pure and simple.

Ignore the absurd comparisons of the anti-abortion battle and its leaders to the likes of Martin Luther King Jr., the Dred Scott decision, the Holocaust, etc. May history forgive us such slander.

The Rev. Michael Bray worships a foreign and strange god, for mine battles, not rationalizes, injustice. Mine hopes to rarefy, not criminalize, women’s need for abortion. Mine translates, not promulgates, rhetoric. At which altar do you pray?

Logan Circle

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