In 2020, Caitlin Bernard, the doctor who helped a 10-year old rape victim obtain abortion care, temporarily stopped providing services at a clinic after she learned of a kidnapping threat against her daughter. Currently, she’s “listed as a ‘threat’ on an antiabortion website that was linked to Amy Coney Barrett before she was nominated to the Supreme Court and helped overturn Roe v. Wade.”
“I felt it would be best for me to limit my travel and exposure during that time,” Bernard said in sworn testimony last year, according to the Guardian, the first to report the news. “I was concerned that there may be people who would be able to identify me during that travel, as well as it’s a very small clinic without any privacy for the people who are driving in and out, and so therefore, people could directly see me.”
Details of the kidnapping threat remain unclear but a group of fundie freaks have labeled Bernard a “local abortion threat” on their website, Right to Life Michiana, an antiabortion group based in South Bend. She and six other doctors have had their workplace locations and educational backgrounds listed since at least last year on a section of the website called “Local Abortion Threat: The Abortionist.” As of Sunday, Bernard’s information still appears on the fundie freak website.
Jackie Appleman, executive director of Right to Life Michiana, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday. He did state that the information posted on the website comes from “publicly available information.”
Right to Life Michiana claims they do not condone any forms of violence or threats but want pro-choice people to feel the same about ‘the unborn.’ “Right to Life Michiana does not condone or encourage harm, threats or harassment towards anyone, including abortion doctors, abortion business employees and escorts,” Appleman said in January. “We encourage pro-choice groups to also accept our nonviolent approach when it comes to the unborn.” The website also offers typical anti-science misinformation about abortion including the false claim that medical abortions can be “reversed.”
The fundie freak organization is best known for its 2006 newspaper advertisement opposing “abortion on demand” that Amy Coney Barrett signed when she taught law at Notre Dame. Justice Handmaiden failed to disclose her participation in the ad during her 2020 confirmation process.
Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, nearly 500 assaults, 42 bombings, 196 arsons, and thousands of criminal incidents directed at patients, providers and volunteers, according to the National Abortion Federation, which advocates for abortion access. According to its most recent threat assessment report released in May, last year saw a 600 percent increase in incidents of stalking abortion providers and a 163 percent increase in the delivery of hoax devices or suspicious packages compared with 2020.