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Sitting in his home in Bowie, Maryland, Bray had to raise his voice to be heard above the chatter of five of his eight children, who were playing in the next room. "These unborn babies are people worthy of protection," he explains. "There's nothing un-Christian about protecting the lives of the unborn." Although he signed Hill's justifiable homicide petition, Bray says he would never pull the trigger. "Of course," he adds, "if I had the zeal to go out and take some action, I wouldn't tell you."
Bray and other radical antiabortion activists like to compare themselves to the abolitionists who fought slavery more than a century ago and frequently invoke the name of John Brown. Legal abortion, they say, robs unborn children of their rights the same way slavery denied rights to blacks.
Others draw a more stinging comparison. "They are terrorists," says Gary R. Perlstein, a terrorism expert at Portland State University in Oregon. "They believe killing is for fear, to intimidate, to terrorize. There's really no difference between these Fundamentalist Christians in the militant antiabortion movement and Muslim fundamentalists in Hamas."
Vancouver's Dr. Gary Romalis sees no difference after what happened to him last November. "I was just sitting in the kitchen, and I felt a kind of whump underneath," he recalls. "The first shot hit me and knocked me slowly off my chair. I felt that my left thigh was warm and wet. But I had no pain. Then there was another shot, and I realized I had been shot. I looked down, and I had a huge hole in my thigh that I could put my fist in. I was bleeding very, very heavily. I thought this was it."
Romalis fashioned his bathrobe belt into a tourniquet that kept him from bleeding to death. But his peaceful life has been shattered. His wife shivers when she walks into the kitchen, where the new curtains are always drawn. His family drives to and from their house a different way each day as part of a strict security regimen. Romalis, completing his physical rehabilitation, admits that he does not know if he will have the courage to perform another abortion.
Nearly 2,000 miles away in Houston, over a plate of barbecued sausage and ribs, Treshman sounds like a sports analyst when he sizes up the Romalis shooting. "From a standpoint of tactics, it would be far better to get away, throwing fear in the hearts of others because you are still out there," he says, insisting all the while that he does not advocate violence.
The fear is real, as Bonnie DeAngelis, director of Norfolk's Hillcrest Clinic knows only too well. Even before John Salvi allegedly shot up the clinic's windows, four Hillcrest doctors had decided to quit performing abortions. "Providers and pro-choice people don't want to admit that the antiabortion movement in this country has been succeeding in their terrorist tactics," she said. "But a very, very small group of people is winning the war."