THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT CLINTON ON VIOLENCE AGAINST ABORTION CLINICS
In America, the heart of constitutional government is the rule of law. Today, our commitment to the rule of law is being tested by those who believe that their opposition to abortion gives them the right to commit acts of violence, even murder, against their fellow citizens who seek only to exercise their constitutional right to choose, or to assist others in exercising that right.
I recognize and respect the range of deeply-felt beliefs Americans hold on abortion. A continued vigorous debate over abortion is proper. Violence against those who hold differing opinions is not.
Last year Congress passed, and I signed, a law prohibiting violent interference with Americans who exercise their rights in this area. Because of continued violations of this law and the Constitution, I have today instructed the Department of Justice to 1) direct each United States Attorney immediately to head a task force including federal, state and local law enforcement officials to formulate plans to address clinic security for all clinics in their jurisidiction; and 2) direct each U.S. Marshal to consult with all clinics in their jurisdiction to ensure that the clinics have all the information they need to communicate with appropriate federal, state, and local law enforcement officials on a timely basis about potential threats. I have also asked the Attorney General to consult with law enforcement officials on any further steps that might be taken to address this serious problem.
I applaud Americans of conscience who differ in their convictions on abortion but who stand united in their opposition to violence. As we begin a new year, let us all reaffirm our devotion to the rule of law and our respect for the diversity of opinion that rule protects.