A Battle Bigger Than Fear

In January of this year, a bomb went off at a Birmingham, Ala., women's clinic that provided abortion services. Emily Lyons was the head nurse at the clinic and was severely injured and partially blinded by the blast. Now she's taken her outrage into the political arena.

Lyons says she is particularly upset by the murder of New York State obstetrician Dr. Barnett Slepian.

"It was like bringing January back again," she says. "We had been hoping that...what happened in Birmingham would be the last, unrealistically. That's not going to happen. And hearing [about Slepian's murder] Saturday morning was another slap in the face."

Abortion rights issues are on the platforms of many candidates, both left and right, in the run-up to this year's mid-term elections. Lyons appears in a pro-choice ad endorsing Chuck Schumer in New York's Senate race against Sen. Al D'Amato. This, she says, shouldn't come as a surprise.

"I said long ago...I was going to do whatever it takes to keep this from happening to somebody else," says Lyons. "Nobody in this country can imagine what this year has been like physically, mentally, for myself and my family. No one should have to tolerate this."

She adds, "You know there is risk doing this kind of work. But you have to put it aside, because there is something bigger, much bigger to fight than your own fear."

Lyons says she would like to see clinics better protected by law. "More legislation is needed, stricter enforcement of the laws for the clinics, protection of the clinics. You know, NARAL [National Abortion Rights Action League] is pushing for its rights and bringing it all up front. But [we] need to foster that political environment that will encourage the laws to be formed."

As for the Birmingham bomb suspect Eric Rudolph and others like him, Lyons says: "The only thing I really think about is, why would they do something like this? What motivated them? Who motivates them? Do they have that much hatred in them they can just go out and kill whoever they want to because they don't agree with our beliefs?"

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