Opinion: Clinic owner says attack was a hate crime

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(EDITOR’S NOTE: Author Susan Cahill is the owner and operator of the All Families Healthcare in Kalispell, which was the target of massive vandalism last week. In this letter to the editor, she states her opinion that the attack should be treated as a hate crime.)


I want to thank Margie Gignac for her March 11 letter to the editor about my office, and I want to underscore the fact that in my opinion this was very much a hate crime, NOT a random attack by someone who was on drugs or mentally ill.

This person took meticulous time destroying EVERYTHING that was important to me; everything that I have worked very hard for all my life.

He destroyed the plumbing and heating system in the building. He then completely destroyed all my medical equipment, ripping apart, breaking every glass object, bending, stabbing knives into or punching hammer holes into, and then methodically cutting and sticking knife holes into the faces of my friends and family, including pictures of my baby grandson. In my opinion, this is NOT the act of someone who was “high” and didn’t know what he was doing, but rather someone who knew EXACTLY what he was doing. And, by the way, I don’t keep drugs in my office.

Health care is a SERVICE. I have performed health-care services for 38 years. I have patients who have been coming to me for that long. I have seen their parents and their children. I provide first-trimester abortions AS PART OF THAT SERVICE because I know that the same women who at one time in their life want and are joyful about being pregnant, may, at another, find themselves unable to bring a child into the world. That crisis used to cost them their lives. The truth is that abortions are very simple and safe procedures that most medical professionals, especially those who are trained in women’s medicine, can and should do. No woman needs to die from having an abortion.  

 Health-care professionals are in the service of providing trained medical care that is safe for the people who need the service. When it comes to EVERY OTHER MEDICAL SERVICE there are many medical professionals who perform that service and we, as consumers, go to the medial professional who we like and trust. But when it comes to abortion services, there are only a few medical professionals who know how important it is to have this health-care service available, and safe. So, we get targeted.

If more medical professionals in this valley, and throughout the U.S. would provide abortions as just another medical service that they were trained to do, then I (and other medical professionals) would not become targeted. I would not have just lost everything that I have worked so hard for. Others would not have lost their lives.

An attack against me is an attack against women, and families, and human rights. Everyone in this valley should be outraged.   

The arraignment of the man who is accused of this hate crime against me (and all of you) is scheduled for March 27 at 1 p.m.

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