Canadian government advice defines abortionists as terrorists

From the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, a helpful banker's guide to spotting "single-issue terrorists," which includes (apparently) abortionists and ecological extremists. It also groups attacks on property with attacks on people, and sales of books and literature with sales of false identification documents.

Counter-terrorism specialists define single-issue or special interest terrorist groups as being motivated by political and social issues and as using violence and criminal activities to further their agendas. Single-issue terrorists may include militant minority rights activists, abortionists, animal rights activists and ecological/environmental extremists. They believe that their legitimate cause morally justifies their extremist violent behavior in opposition to government action or inaction. Terrorist attacks include the use of bombs, such as mail and car bombs. Their targets are often research laboratories, clinics and individuals' property. Single-issue terrorist groups function domestically but have an international scope.


      1. One of the two isn’t a typo but an accurate translation of the original. Unless you’re suggesting that the Canadian government habitually has stuff written up in a third language and then translated into both English and French.

        1. I was (perhaps foolishly) assuming that the translator would flag an obvious mistake like that for correction instead of mechanically copying it. The abortion question in Canada has been settled since Morgentaler and the only violence that has occured has been from anti-abortionists.

          1. That’s always the case. Religious fanatics are very prone to violence when you defy their delusion.

    1. But even then, it’s not a fair characterization. Every single-issue movement has its nuts. Why single out abortionists or anti-abortionists from, say, Maple Leafs fans? (Or whatever group contains the Canadian equivalent of soccer hooligans as a subset)

  1. Seems to be a typo for anti-abortionists given the context.

    As to whether ecological extremists are terrorists, this is an interesting issue. The vast majority of such have only engaged in property damage. Is that not terrorism? What if they’ve made threats against life and limb like some of the animal rights extremists?

    There’s an associated issue- defining “terrorism” and “terrorist” is really difficult. There was a UN report a few years ago which found more than sixty (I don’t remember the exact number) definitions of terrorism in the literature. 

  2. It also specifically mentions clinics as being targeted and the anti-abortionists are the only ones who are doing that.

  3. abortionist? is that like an evolutionist? i’ve never heard a pro-choice person refer to themselves in this way…

  4. Wasn’t “militant” intended to apply to each subsequently listed object?

    Compare: “I like watching the idiotic Larry, Curly, and Moe.” In that statement, “idiotic” obviously modifies all three objects, not just Larry.

    I think you’re reading into this what you want to read into this.

  5. Yeah, and those darned pesky military minority rights groups! We don’t need anyone disturbing the status quo with their _convictions_ and stuff. >:[ “Militant” is a handy way to smear the distinction between “vocal” and “violent,” isn’t it?

    Trying hard to not derail the thread with abortion stuff, but the only pro-life/pro-choice activist I know of that’s still going is a woman in her 70’s who pickets the three clinics in Ontario, specifically because she doesn’t think the government has a right to restrict free speech in public places. There’s never been a Canadian abortion clinic bombing, though that was the reason offered by the Morgentaler clinics for getting the court injuction back then. Buncha FUD, I think…

      1. That wasn’t terrorism.  It was.. uh… cold.  Yes, clearly that was just a concerned citizen who wanted to save the abortionist some money in heating bills.  In fact you could call him a Samaritan, if there was something seriously wrong with you.

  6. I’m not sure eco-property-destruction is terrorism, as it’s rarely ment to scare or ‘terrorize’ the opposition, but rather to stop an activity by damaging equipment.

    1. I think that the eventual goal of ecological “extremists” is to stop the activity entirely.  If the company rebuilds, repairs and starts up again, that’s not really mission accomplished. 

      I am NOT making a value judgment here; if you support the ecological dudes then that’s fine, if you don’t then that’s fine too.

      1. Yeah but they don’t try to shut them down with fear, or threats…the goal of most is to make the activity so expensive or time consuming that the company cannot make a profit and abandons the activity.

        Still illegal and vandalism, but hardly terrorism

    2. It’s an awfully thin line — anyone who is around the equipment being damaged with probably be scared. And some activities, like spiking trees, can cause serious injury (you don’t get called “not a terrorist” if you always call in your bombs).

      But all that is moot because we all know that corporations are people and money is their lifeblood. So any political act that causes a corporation to lose money is ipso facto terrorism.

      1. tree-spiking? Seriously? You think ‘eco-terrorists’ still do this? Not for 20 years. The point is to not hurt anyone, and this has been understood by the movement for decades now. So please don’t talk about tree spiking in the present tense. 

  7. Yes, I’m certain that the entire point of an abortion clinic is to terrify its patients.  Clearly that’s why women go there.  In fact maybe that’s how they perform the abortion: they just horrify women until they miscarry.  It all makes sense.

    Wait, no, not sense.  The other thing.  The thing that’s the exact opposite of sense.

  8. The French and English being the same doesn’t mean it’s not a typo – it may have been produced by an English writer and sent to a translator who, not knowing the context, would be mechanically translating the words. Abortion is largely a legal medical procedure in Canada, with certain exceptions, so “abortionist” doesn’t really make any sense – further what clinic exactly would an abortionist bomb?

  9. if they’re talking about ANTI-abortion activists this makes sense.  But I don’t think they’re intending for “abortionist” to be parsed in this way?

    EDIT: i see now that everyone and their dog has basically said what i said. disregard!

  10. Huh. Well, I’m full of shit, then. Mea culpa. I’ll have to start pointing out the entirely reasonable nature of the injunctions as a reaction to a bombing. Thanks for pointing that out!

    Mind you, I still don’t see how restricting protesting reduces the risk of a bombing. Especially in 2011. *shrug*

  11. Now I’m trying to think of who a crazed pro-choice terrorist would even bomb. Any medical facility that DIDN’T perform abortions?

    1. Presumably, if abortion rights supporters were simply the mirror image of abortion prohibitionists, then they would bomb the headquarters and/or churches of the abortion prohibitionists, or they would use sniper rifles to shoot leaders of the abortion prohibition movement in their homes.  It’s interesting that such things don’t seem to happen…

      1. Presumably, if abortion rights supporters were simply the mirror image of abortion prohibitionists, then they would bomb the headquarters and/or churches of the abortion prohibitionists…

        But the anti-abortion terrorists I’ve heard of didn’t target people who support abortion legislation, they targeted the actual practitioners and facilities where abortions take place. What’s the mirror image of that? A fertility clinic?

  12. as an abortionist myself (no, really, i’m a gyn) I have to say, I haven’t yet used a bomb.  many  instruments are needed to perform an abortion. haven’t seen a bomb used yet. 

  13. Anti-abortion activists have been calling abortionists “terrorists” for at least a decade now.  Do you people not read the pamphlets?  That kind of name-calling is pretty mainstream in the radical Catholic anti-choice brigade.  It may be a typo, but it would not really surprise me if the person who wrote this did not think that characterization was unusual.

    Here, look – World Net Daily, the same people who say “Occupy Wall Street” is a front for George Soros:

  14. A PBS documentary discussed this issue with sophistication and depth. Some “eco-terrorists” burned down a lumber mill to protect old growth forest in Oregon (making sure no one would be hurt). Their intention was property destruction–but when they were caught, they were forced to accept plea bargains and plead guilty  to terrorism in exchange for lighter sentences (7 years versus life sentences). One person, Daniel McGowan, is still serving his sentence in a special communication moniored prison with other “terrorists.”

  15. I think the ‘and’ in “and as using violence and criminal activities to further their agendas” is intended to be Boolean, so none of these groups are defined as terrorist unless they use violence and criminal activities. That seems fair enough.

  16. Whether or not the “abortionist” reference was a typo, there’s still a trend in the listing of presumed terrorists:

    – militant minority rights activists….but not white supremacists;
    – abortionists….but not organized groups of religious zealots;
    – animal rights activists and ecological/environmental extremists….but not the executives of the companies that knowingly and willfully cause widespread death and destruction to animals or property because it’s easier and more profitable than finding a less extreme option.

    When terrorism is defined as a liberal mechanism, only liberals will be recognized as terrorists.

      1. Or animals. Or the environment.

        It’s the perception that liberals are into unimportant, girly things like caring about something other than cold hard cash…whether or not it’s true in each individual case.

        I worked with Republicans in the 1970s on the ERA and abortion rights.  The lines are drawn very differently now.

  17. “Why single out abortionists or anti-abortionists from, say, Maple Leafs fans?”

    I don’t think Maple Leaf fans have ever blown anything up, nor have they had reason to in the last 40-odd years. Canuck fans on the other hand …

    1. The headings are:

      – Al-Qaida
      – Other Islamist Extremists
      – Homegrown (meaning, angry at the country they’re living in)
      – Nationalistic
      – Single-Issue

      Do you see any religion other than Islam on that list?

      1. I don’t see any other religion on that list, no, but don’t discount the “extremist” part.  Now it’s wrong to single out a single religion’s extremists (aren’t ALL extremists dangerous?) and the word “extremist” doesn’t really MEAN a whole lot, but at least the entry isn’t just “Muslims.”

  18. What do you suppose the actions of a militant abortionist would be? Shooting pregnant women, perhaps? O_o Maybe a fringe group that simply considers killing people *really* late-term abortion? Thoughts?

  19. I’ve emailed them and will let you know what, if anything, they have to say for themselves (aside from the auto-reply I got).

  20. Just sent this – it felt good!

    To Whom It May Concern,

    You have no doubt been inundated with queries about the “Example Categories” page on your site since its posting on Nevertheless let me add my voice to the list. I am a library technician at Vancouver Public Library with 20 years experience in historical research and database mining. I am hopeful that the ideological slant of the page is simply a question of semantics, which may be corrected with more astute editing, and more intelligent composition. However, in all my research I have yet to discover any event or act of terrorism committed by an “abortionist”. This error is egregious and requires immediate attention. I look forward to its removal from your page, and would appreciate notification when the edit takes place.

  21.  “a helpful banker’s guide to spotting “single-issue terrorists,” which includes…” . Yet another reason to be refused a loan: discernable proofs of consciousness. “Mr. Shitbag, your loan application was refused because you have morals and principles….that conflict with my godhead. We believe you may decide to do something radical: like resisting us when we decide to screw you over. Thank you and goodbye.”

  22. Didn’t take long for that page to be removed from the government website.  Anyone got a back-up of that particular webpage?  I’m curious to see what is says in whole.

  23. I suspect that “abortionist” was probably originally intended to refer to the people who oppose abortion rather than the doctor that perform them, but got inverted by mistake and that nobody caught it.

    Mostly because it’s the only group on the list that can’t be stretched to fit any remotely reasonable defitinion of terrorist.

  24. Since the Canadian government wrote this, I think its safe to assume it’s a typo. If this passage were written by say, the Texas or New Jersey state legislature, well…

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