- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 29, 2015

BOSTON (AP) - An abortion rights group is calling on Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to urge the federal Department of Justice to treat violence at abortion clinics as acts of domestic terrorism.

NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Executive Director Megan Amundson said Tuesday the Justice Department can invest more resources toward investigating violent acts when they’re classified as domestic terrorism.

“As governor, Charlie Baker has the duty to request federal resources in instances where the health, safety, and well-being of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are at issue,” Amundson said.

She referenced last month’s shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood office that left three people dead.

Baker said he would defer to federal standards that outline what constitutes terrorism.

But Baker also said he considers anyone who engages in that type of behavior to be engaging in “terrorist acts,” regardless of a formal definition.

“Whether or not they meet whatever the federal standard is with regard to how they define terrorism … is kind of beside the point,” Baker said. “The simple truth is it’s an act by somebody or some group of somebodies to terrorize, maim, damage and hurt people who are innocent victims.”

Garrett Swasey, who grew up in Melrose, was among those killed in the Colorado shooting. He was a police officer at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Amundson said the request to Baker is part of an ongoing national campaign by NARAL to pressure the Justice Department to investigate clinic violence as domestic terrorism.

Massachusetts is no stranger to abortion clinic violence.

In December 1994, two receptionists were killed and five people were wounded at Planned Parenthood clinics in Brookline. The convicted gunman, John Salvi, was later found dead in prison of an apparent suicide.

“The Brookline shootings are reason enough to demand that the federal government is at the ready to respond with every possible resource if there is violence at abortion clinics again,” Amundson said.

Since 1977, there have been eight murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arsons and thousands of other incidents at abortion clinics across the country, according to the National Abortion Foundation, a trade group for abortion providers.

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