The Fight of Their Lives

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Scott is asking more than $10 million.
Whatever injuries Scott suffered during his incarceration, they weren't severe enough to stop his anti-abortion activism. Although the restraining order prohibits him from coming within a mile--the distance a rifle bullet will travel--of Hern's clinic, he continues to hold down his corner at 18th and Vine, and to appear at the State Capitol to testify on behalf of bills submitted by anti-abortion legislators.

Scott does not represent the entire anti-abortion movement, Newell acknowledges. "Many, even most, of these people are doing this on religious or moral grounds," he says, "doing what their consciences tell them. I have absolutely no problem with that.

"But a lot of these guys who are so angry, who stand out there making these 'veiled' threats that they know and I know are meant to frighten people, these are guys who couldn't control the women in their own lives, so now they want to control the lives of all women."

Tracy is still convinced her ex-husband "will snap," Newell says. "She's absolutely terrified and from what I know about the stalker mentality, she has a right to be."

Scott is now almost $60,000 in arrears on his court-ordered child support. (A few weeks ago, a flier showed up at the State Capitol that had a photo of Scott carrying his "Abortion Kills Children" sign. The caption below read, "If abortion stays legal...who will I have to neglect? A message from Ken Scott, anti-abortion terrorist, father of three, and four years behind on his child support payments.")

On January 16, two bombs rocked an abortion clinic in Atlanta. The first went off when no one was around; the second exploded an hour later, injuring six people who had rushed to the scene, including federal agents, rescue workers and a TV cameraman.

Freshman representative Barry Arrington, a Republican lawyer from Arvada who ran billboard ads several years ago soliciting cases against abortion doctors, got angry when a reporter asked for his reaction to the bombing. "Your purpose is to connect me to the bombing because I support the right to life," he responded. "Lawlessness is reprehensible. I don't care who does it."

It was Arrington who introduced the bill to ban so-called partial-birth abortions that drew Scott to the legislature three weeks ago. Introducing the measure, Arrington described a near-term fetus delivered feet-first up to its neck, at which point the doctor collapses its head. He did not mention that the antiquated procedure is rarely, if ever, performed, and then only to save the life of the mother.

Despite his nearly three dozen arrests, Scott was treated politely, almost deferentially, by members of the State Affairs committee. His testimony went uninterrupted until he pronounced that the bodies of aborted fetuses were harvested to make cosmetics "for rich women." Even then, the challenges were reserved.

But when it was Hern's turn, he was required to testify under oath--a rare request not made of Scott. Hern, who testified against the bill even though he doesn't do the procedure, was repeatedly interrupted by Arrington and Representative Mark Paschall, the Arvada Republican who caused a stir last year when he offered a prayer composed by anti-abortion activists on the House floor. "I felt it was necessary to give Dr. Hern some incentive to tell the truth," Arrington said later.

A week later, the day of a hearing on a bill that would criminalize late-term abortions--another Arrington proposal--Scott stuck "Pro-Life Christian Coalition" leaflets with photographs of dismembered fetuses in the mailboxes of House members, angering many in the process.

Still, Paschall again insisted on putting Hern, and no one else, under oath. He tried to get the doctor to swear by an antiquated and seldom-used version of the oath that includes the words "by the Living God"; Hern swore only to "tell the truth."

That bill was defeated; the entire House is scheduled to vote on the partial-birth abortion measure this Friday.

For Hern, his treatment at the legislature was more proof that the separation between church and state no longer exists. "There are Christians of good conscience and legislators in both parties of goodwill," he says, "However, they're not the ones in power."

Those who scoff at his theory that the country is on the verge of a civil war over abortion should study history, he suggests. "The only difference between this and the slaughter of the Jews in Venice is a thousand years," he says. "The only difference between this and the Islamic jihad is 8,000 miles.

"This isn't about abortion. This is about people who think that they can tell everyone else how to think and what to believe. Once they've outlawed abortion and locked up abortion doctors, who will they go after next? People who write for newspapers? People who read books? Blacks? Jews? They hate freedom. They hate secular thought."

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Steve Jackson

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