Local News

Cumberland Women's Clinic Owner Speaks Out

Posted October 11, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT

— While neither of the explosive devices found at two Fayetteville Abortion Clinics last week did not hurt anyone, they did scare clinic employees and neighbors.

Monday the owner of the Hallmark Clinic said the threat of violence will never force him to close the doors.

For the first time since the bomb threats and the fires last month, Dr. Harold Hoke, who owns the Hallmark Abortion Clinics in Fayetteville and Charlotte, is speaking out. He has been performing abortions in North Carolina for 25 years and says threats will not keep him from doing his job.

Hoke was not surprised that his abortion clinic in Fayetteville was set on fire last month and threatened with a bomb last week. He believes anti-abortionists are responsible.

"These are mean people, the anti-abortion forces are very mean," said Hoke. "The protestors get up in the girls' faces and shout at them."

In 1973, Hoke was the first person to open an abortion clinic in North Carolina. He is no stranger to people wishing him harm.

"They are cowards. All of them are cowards," Hoke said.

In October of 1985, his Hallmark Clinic in Charlotte was also set on fire. No one was charged.

"I think they enjoy the power they have," Hoke explained. "For many of them, this is the first time in their lives they have ever felt important."

But Hoke says he will not let fear discourage him.

"I fought in a war, and that scared me more than this does. I won't let anybody drive me away," Hoke said.

Hoke, who is 72-years-old, says he would have retired years ago, but he does not want anyone to think he is backing down from his convictions.

He is offering a $25,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the people responsible for the violence. Federal authorities are also offering a reward of $50,000.