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Nevada doctor turns women's clinic into fortress

Abortion clinic
Violence is no longer routine at the new clinic  
October 28, 1998
Web posted at: 11:43 p.m. EST (0443 GMT)

RENO, Nevada (CNN) -- After scores of attacks on his women's clinic, Doctor Damon Stutes decided to fight back by building a new clinic, and outfitting it like a high security fortress.

Stutes, a Reno, Nevada doctor who performs abortions said violence was routine at the clinic he worked at until four years ago. He estimated 57 attacks, including bombings, firebombings, and projectiles hurled through windows.

Now, he drives a bullet resistant Chevy Suburban to his new building, which is protected by a heavy steel door. Inside, he works under a steel roof, behind reinforced concrete walls with bulletproof glass. Surveillance cameras monitor activity inside and out. And, Stutes always keeps a firearm nearby. He says he has three 9mm Barettas, which are always armed and loaded.

CNN's Don Knapp talks to a doctor who takes self-defense seriously
Windows Media 28K 56K

"I do not intend to die for this cause," Stutes said. He said he won't "lay down" in the face of violence, even if his "macho cowboy" act alienates his friends.

Doctor holding a gun
Stutes keeps three guns on hand to protect his Reno clinic  

Talking publicly about his clinic has put Stutes at risk in the past. "I was stalked for about four months the last time CNN had a story on me," he said. But he said he is speaking out again because he is "absolutely incensed that this country continues to tolerate murder and terrorism."

Stutes also said men should protect the women who seek abortions. "I'm supposed to act meek and mild," he said. "But dammit, some of us have to stand up for what's right."

Correspondent Don Knapp contributed to this report

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