Assaults on Abortion Providers Surged 128% Last Year


A survey of 390 clinics included reports of kicking, slapping and being pepper sprayed.

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(Bloomberg) – Abortion providers reported significant increases in violence – including stalking, invasions and assaults – last year, according to a National Abortion Federation survey released Friday.

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In 2021, reports of assault and battery at clinics jumped 128% from the year before, according to a survey of around 390 providers. Reports of such incidents reached a three decade high, NAF found.

Clinic escorts and staff reported being pushed, shoved, pepper sprayed, slapped and kicked, among other things. Respondents also reported a 600% year-over-year increase in stalking and a 163% increase in receiving hoax devices or suspicious packages.

Overall, clinics saw fewer incidents in 2021 largely because of a decrease in reported trespassing. NAF suspected that was, in part, because of pandemic-related staffing shortages that meant fewer people were around to witness such events.

Read more: Supreme Court Could Jeopardize Abortion Access for 33 Million Women

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The organization expects even more violence and disruption at clinics in the wake of the impending US Supreme Court decision that could overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. In the absence of Roe, 26 states are certain or likely to ban abortion, shutting down a quarter of the country’s abortion clinics.

“We know from past experience that news like this can really embolden anti-abortion individuals and groups,” Melissa Fowler, chief program officer at NAF, said. “It’s definitely top of mind for us. It’s a big concern and we expect an escalation. ”NAF has been tracking instances of violence against its member facilities since 1977. Of the reporting providers, 91% are in the US, 8% are in Canada and about 1% are in Latin America . The group’s data prior to 2013 is only from members in US and Canada; since 2013, it also includes providers in Mexico and Colombia.


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