Long before the Supreme Court ended women’s federal abortion rights, anti-choice criminals acts of violence against abortion clinics saw shocking increases through 2021, according to a report from the National Abortion Federation released Friday.
The report found the biggest increases occurred in stalking, bomb threats, invasions, and assault and battery.
Specifically, the statistics show a 600 percent increase in stalking, while blockades (450 percent), hoax devices/suspicious packages (163 percent), invasions (129 percent), and assault and battery (128 percent). Bomb threats saw an 80 percent increase in comparison to previous years.
NAF, which has been collecting these types of statistics on abortion providers for 45 years, also found that assaults have risen from 15 in 2018, to 123 in 2021..
“These statistics help us track threats, identify trends, and enhance our security programs,” said Melissa Fowler, Chief Program Officer, National Abortion Federation.
Violence against abortion clinics is not a new problem. “Unfortunately, since abortion was legalized, there has been an organized campaign of harassment and violence against abortion providers that continues today,” said Fowler. “The 2021 Violence & Disruption Statistics show a concerning, but sadly unsurprising, increase in intimidation tactics, vandalism, and other activities aimed at disrupting services, harassing providers, and blocking patients’ access to abortion care.”
Fowler blames specific groups for the violence.
“Let’s be clear—many of the people who perpetrate these attacks against abortion providers are members of known extremist and white supremacist organizations, and are the same people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th to try and overthrow the government,” she said.
Amanda Kifferly, vice president of abortion access and clinic security director of the Women’s Centers, told ABC News that the aggressive behavior of the insurrectionists was familiar to abortion providers.
“We were so familiar with the tactics that we saw. The bullying, the loud noises, the militia gear, the harassing language that was used,” she said.
Fowler adds abortion clinics have experienced more intimidation since the draft opinion striking down Roe v. Wade was leaked and “we expect the situation to worsen once a formal opinion has been released.”
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