"These are not lone wolves who are acting out of a deep moral sense of their concern over unborn children," said Ms. Magazine executive editor Kathy Spillar.
"This is a network of domestic terrorists that functions like every other network of terrorists. They recruit, they arm, they plan their targets and they commit the violence. All we've ever had until now is the prosecution of the one person who actually plants the bomb or pulls the trigger.
"And until you dismantle the network that's behind the terrorism you're never going to see an end to it. We face a very real terrorist threat in this country that is using abortion. They're also very anti-government of any kind. They're usually also very racist and this is a network that will continue to commit violence and perpetuate this mythology that abortion is controversial. And this is hurting us terribly."
Legal abortion, Spillar said, has been settled and is not a "real" debate.
"Forty percent plus of women will have an abortion in their lifetime," Spillar said.
"And 90 percent will use contraception if they're heterosexually active. So this is not a real debate but it is being played as a debate both on the streets by the extremists and in Congress and in the state legislatures by predominantly male and conservative elected officials."
The result of groups in the U.S. fighting over the legality of abortion is negatively impacting women all over the world, Spillar said.
"We're not meeting our obligation on the international stage in funding family planning programs, our policies continue to interfere with efforts in countries all over the world to legalize abortion," Spillar said.
"And women are dying. This is not something that happened 40 years ago before (the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion) Roe vs. Wade. Women are dying today -- 500,000 a year die of complications from pregnancy or childbirth or botched illegal abortions.
"And the U.S. has a responsibility to be a more constructive force in the world. And as long as abortion stays controversial and as long as these extremists can use this issue against us, we're not going to make the kind of forward progress."
Spillar said the magazine has been "ahead of its time" and cited multiple examples such as its first story in 1972, before Roe vs. Wade became law, about women who had abortions a year.
"These were 55 famous women who had illegal abortions who put their names in the magazine as a plea to legislators across the country to decriminalize abortion," Spillar said of the issue. There have been many accomplishments for the magazine in its 40-year history, Spillar said.
In 1977, the magazine discussed sexual harassment and in 1980 the issue discussed female genital mutilation, a controversial procedure which intentionally alters or injures female genital organs for reasons that aren't medical.
Then in 1996, the magazine ran a story about the Taliban and its "horrific" treatment of women and girls in Afghanistan. A year and a half ago it advocated for the FBI to finally change its 80-year-old definition of rape that "undercounted rapes by hundreds of thousands every year in this country," Spillar said.
Michel Cicero, current managing editor of Ms. Magazine, said she personally experienced sexism before working for the feminist publication and realized its effects.
"I started off my first job in publishing," Cicero said. "I was 17 working for a magazine that was not feminist. Nor did I think of myself as feminist at the time. I thought that doesn't apply to me, you know, `I'm smart it's not going to happen to me.' And my first job I did experience sexism. I quit over it. They hired a man and paid a third more than I. And I had to train him. And when I complained about it they said because he's a man. And I quit. And they offered me 50 cents more to come back but I didn't."
Besides Cicero and Spillar, Senior Editor Michele Kort joined the panel with Scripps College students and magazine bloggers Amy Borsuk and Dana Shaker.