Or maybe not so much. Dr. Douglas Laube OB/GYN (boldface mine):
“I remember back in the ’80s, I was sitting on the exam stool with the patient in the middle of a D&C abortion. We were in a basement facility and heard this big noise coming from the ground floor, right above us. Fortunately, there were heavy steel-cased doors, but they had glass windows. An extremist group was using a telephone pole as a battering ram, trying to break through the front door.
“We could hear the breaking of the glass, the pounding against the door, our people were screaming. One nurse ran to call security. The other nurse was trying to calm the patient down. The patient was pleading with us not to leave her. She kept saying, ‘Please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.’ I couldn’t leave; I had to finish the procedure. I said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll finish our job.’
“Today, it seems that there’s a little less violence because the right wing has been able to make a lot of legislative changes. The frustration and the desperation they felt in the first 20 or so years has been mollified by their ability to generate meaningful legislation for their side. Back then, I don’t know that any of us thought that there’d be any legislation curtailing abortion. We were very wrong on that, obviously.”
David Brooks’ propaganda notwithstanding, there have always been radical, even violent elements of the conservative coalition. What makes things different today is that they are kept less in check and the combination of the internet and non-mainstream media makes the radicalism harder to hide.