Common Questions and Myths

Read about common questions and myths such as:

If I have an abortion, will I be able to get pregnant again?

Does abortion cause an increased risk of breast cancer?

Is there a post-abortion syndrome?

Making an Informed Choice

We want you to be able to make an informed decision, no matter what option you may choose. The information in these pages can help you think through your options.

Abortion: ending your pregnancy.
Adoption: giving someone else the legal right and responsibility to raise your child.
Parenthood: carrying the pregnancy to term and raising your child.

Need Help?

For information and financial assistance, call the NAF hotline:

1-800-772-9100

For clinic referrals only (no funding):

1-800-257-0012

Violence Statistics & History

///Violence Statistics & History
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Violence Statistics

The National Abortion Federation has been compiling statistics on incidents of violence and disruption against abortion providers since 1977. Our comprehensive database is an invaluable resource that enables us to detect changes in the patterns and trends in anti-abortion activities.

The statistics in this table are compiled by NAF from reports from our member clinics, the news media, and other pro-choice organizations. The actual number of incidents is likely much higher in most categories.

If you would like to print a summary of our violence statistics, please download the latest updated PDF version (16K).

History of Violence

Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal, there has been an organized campaign by anti-abortion extremists which has resulted in escalating levels of violence against women’s health care providers. In an attempt to stop abortion, anti-abortion extremists have chosen to take the law into their own hands.

What began as peaceful protests with picketing moved to harassing clinic staff and patients as they entered clinics and eventually escalated to blockading clinic entrances.

This foundation of harassment led to violence with the first reported clinic arson in 1976 and a series of bombings in 1978. Arsons and bombings have continued until this day. Anti-abortion extremists have also used chemicals to block women’s access to abortion employing butyric acid to vandalize clinics and sending anthrax threat letters to frighten clinic staff.

In the early 1990s, anti-abortion extremists concluded that murdering providers was the only way to stop abortion. The first provider was murdered in 1993. Including the recent attack in Colorado, there have been 11 murders and 26 attempted murders due to anti-abortion violence. Several of the doctors were attacked in their own homes. In 2009, NAF member Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed in his church in Wichita, Kansas. In 2015, a police officer and two people at a clinic were killed when a gunman entered a clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The following are incidents that were reported to or obtained by NAF. Extreme violence has the potential to destroy clinics and harm the lives of clinic staff.

DateState/ProvinceTypeEst. DamageCase Status
11/2015ColoradoMURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER (SHOOTING)Officer Garrett Swasey, Ke'Arre Stewart, and Jennifer Markovsky were killed when a gunman entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs and held staff and patients hostage. Nine other people were injured in the attack. Robert Lewis Dear has been charged with murder and attempted murder and is in custody.
10/2015CaliforniaARSONOpen
9/2015WashingtonARSONOpen
8/2015LouisianaARSONOpen
7/2015IllinoisARSONOpen
11/2014AlabamaARSONOpen
3/2013MontanaVANDALISM$500,000Zachery Klundt severely vandalized and destroyed a clinic in Kalispell, Montana. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and ordered to pay $642,477.29 in restitution, plus about an additional $27,000 to other parties.
1/2012FloridaARSONBobby Joe Rogers was sentenced to 10 years for arson and damaging a reproductive health facility.
5/2012GeorgiaARSONOpen
5/2012GeorgiaARSONOpen
5/2012MissouriATTEMPTED ARSONJedediah Stout is charged with attempted arson. Trial pending.
4/2012WisconsinARSON
5/2011WisconsinATTEMPTED MURDERRalph Lang was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for attempted first-degree intentional homicide. Lang admitted to police that he planned to shoot abortion providers at a nearby Planned Parenthood the next day. Lang was also sentenced to 10 years of extended supervision.
7/2011TexasARSONOpen
8/2011MichiganBOMBINGOpen
5/2009KansasMURDERDr. George Tiller was shot and killed in his church in Wichita, Kansas. Anti-abortion extremist Scott Roeder confessed to the murder and was found guilty of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 50 years.
2/2008CaliforniaATTEMPTED ARSONOpen
12/2007New MexicoARSONMore than $1,000,000Chad Altman and Sergio Baca pled guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and are awaiting sentencing.
5/2007VirginiaARSONRemains open
7/2005FloridaARSONRemains open
1/2005WashingtonARSON$500,000 Remains open
7/2004FloridaARSONRemain open
1/2004FloridaARSONRemains open
9/2003IndianaARSON$2,000 Remains open
5/2003FloridaARSONRemains open
1/2003IllinoisARSONRemains open
6/2002TexasARSONRemains open
6/2001WashingtonARSONRemains open
6/2001WashingtonBOMB$6,000 Remains open
4/2001KentuckyARSONRemains open
7/2000VancouverSTABBING
5/2000New HampshireARSON$20,000 Remains open
4/2000KentuckyARSONRemains open
4/2000FloridaARSON$2-3,000Remains open
8/1999New HampshireARSONApprox. $20,000Remains open
7/1999CaliforniaARSONMinimal damage to the clinic. Approx $100,000 damage to the building housing the clinic.Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams pled guilty and were sentenced to 21-30 years in jail for this fire and three synagogue arsons.
5/1999New MexicoARSON$5,000 Ricky Lee McDonald pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in jail.
4/1999WisconsinARSON$500Remains open
3/1999WisconsinARSON$1,000 Peter Quinn, 17 admitted to this arson. He is being charged in state court as an adult.
3/1999WisconsinARSONMinimalPeter Quinn, 17 admitted to this arson. He is being charged in state court as an adult.
3/1999South DakotaARSONMinimalMartin Uphoff was convicted of using explosives during a felony, and vandalism to a facility providing health care services (a FACE charge). Uphoff was sentenced to 60 months for the felony and 6 months for the FACE charge, to be served concurrently.
3/1999New MexicoARSON$3,000 Ricky Lee McDonald pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in jail.
3/1999North CarolinaBOMBMinimalRemains open
10/1998New YorkMURDERDr. Barnett Slepian was shot and killed in his home in Amherst, New York. James Kopp was convicted of second-degree murder in state court and received the maximum sentence of twenty-five years to life in prison. He was also convicted and sentenced to life on federal charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
9/1998North CarolinaARSON$200Remains open
9/1998North CarolinaARSON$17,000 Remains open
9/1998North CarolinaARSON$7,000 Remains open
7/1998TexasACIDUnknown
7/1998LouisianaACIDUnknown
7/1998LouisianaACID$13,000
7/1998LouisianaACIDUnknown
7/1998LouisianaACIDUnknown
7/1998TexasACIDUnknown
7/1998TexasACIDUnknown
7/1998TexasACIDUnknown
7/1998LouisianaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACID$3,000
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
5/1998FloridaACIDUnknown
3/1998CaliforniaARSON$5,000 Remains open
1/1998AlabamaBOMB$85,000 Officer Robert Sanderson was killed during a clinic bombing in Birmingham, AL. Emily Lyons, a nurse at the clinic was severely injured in the blast. Eric Robert Rudolph pled guilty and is serving a life sentence for the bombings at Olympic Park, a gay bar, and two abortion clinics including the Birmingham clinic.
12/1997New YorkARSONMinimalRemains open
11/1997ManitobaSHOOTINGDr. Jack Fainman was shot and injured in his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. James Kopp is a suspect in the shooting.
10/1997New YorkSHOOTINGAn unnamed physician was shot at in his home in Rochester, New York. James Kopp is a suspect in the shooting.
10/1997OregonARSON$5,000 Remains open
8/1997AlabamaARSON$250,000 Remains open
5/1997WashingtonARSON$1,500 Remains open
5/1997OregonARSON$400,000 Remains open
3/1997CaliforniaBOMB$1,000 Container of flammable liquid thrown through the window.
3/1997IowaBOMBUnknownRemains open
3/1997MontanaBOMB$2,000 JohnYankowski apprehended at clinic; convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
3/1997North CarolinaBOMB$50,000 Remains open
3/1997CaliforniaARSONUnknownPeter Howard, a local activist, put 13 gas cans and 3 propane tanks in his truck and drove it thru the clinic door. He was caught on the scene, pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 yrs in prison and fined $16, 320.87 for damages and restitution.
2/1997VirginiaARSON$25,000 James Anthony Mitchell of VA pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten years in jail in September 1997.
1/1997OklahomaARSON$7,000 A juvenile was convicted in this and other arsons and bombings. Name sealed due to age.
1/1997OklahomaBOMB$2,500 A juvenile was convicted in this and other arsons and bombings. Name sealed due to age.
1/1997GeorgiaBOMB$90,000+2 explosions. Eric Robert Rudolph is serving a life sentence for the bombings at Olympic Park, a gay bar, and two abortion clinics including the Georgia clinic.
Anti-abortion extremists perpetrated an unprecedented level of violence in 1993 with the first murder of an abortion provider. Dr. David Gunn was shot and killed by a zealot in Pensacola, FL. Since that time, anti-abortion extremists have murdered or attempted to murder numerous other individuals who were involved in reproductive health care.

A chronology of abortion-related murders and shootings follows.

DateState/ProvinceCase Status
11/2015ColoradoOfficer Garrett Swasey, Jennifer Markovsky, and Ke'Arre Stewart were shot and killed when an attacker entered a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Robert Lewis Dear is in custody pending charges in the shootings.
5/2009KansasDr. George Tiller was shot and killed in his church in Wichita, Kansas. Anti-abortion extremist Scott Roeder confessed to the murder and was found guilty of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault and sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 50 years.
10/1998New YorkDr. Barnett Slepian was shot and killed in his home in Amherst, New York. James Kopp was convicted of second-degree murder in state court and received the maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison. He was also convicted and sentenced to life on federal charges of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
1/1998AlabamaOfficer Robert Sanderson was killed during a clinic bombing in Birmingham, AL. Emily Lyons, a nurse at the clinic was severely injured in the blast. Eric Robert Rudolph pled guilty and is serving a life sentence for the bombings at Olympic Park, a gay bar, and two abortion clinics including the Birmingham clinic.
11/1997ManitobaDr. Jack Fainman was shot and injured in his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba. James Kopp was suspected in the shooting but not charged.
10/1997New YorkAn unnamed physician was shot at in his home in Rochester, New York. James Kopp was suspected in the shooting but never charged.
11/1995OntarioDr. Hugh Short was shot and injured in his home in Ancaster, Ontario. James Kopp was charged with attempted murder in the shooting, but those charges were later dropped.
12/1994MassachusettsShannon Lowney and Leanne Nichols were shot and killed by John Salvi at two clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts. Five others were injured in the attacks. Salvi was sentenced to two life terms but committed suicide in prison in November 1996.
11/1994VancouverDr. Garson Romalis was shot and seriously wounded in his home in Vancouver, British Columbia. James Kopp was suspected in the shooting.
7/1994FloridaDr. John Bayard Britton and his escort, James H. Barrett were shot and killed in front of a clinic in Pensacola, Florida by Paul J. Hill. June Barrett was also shot and injured in the incident. Hill was executed by lethal injection on September 3, 2003.
8/1993KansasDr. George Tiller was shot and injured by Rachelle u201cShelleyu201d Shannon at his clinic in Wichita, Kansas. Shannon was sentenced to 11 years in prison for attempted first-degree murder. She is still in prison serving additional prison time for six arsons and two butyric acid attacks.
3/1993FloridaDr. David Gunn was shot to death by Michael Griffin in Pensacola, Florida. Griffin is serving a life sentence for murder.

Arsons and bombings at clinics can cause widespread destruction. Over 200 of these crimes have been committed against reproductive health care clinics since the mid-1970s.

A chronology of abortion related arsons and bombings follows.

DateState/ProvinceTypeEst. DamageCase Status
10/2015CaliforniaARSONOpen
9/2015WashingtonARSONOpen
8/2015LouisianaARSONOpen
7/2015IllinoisARSONOpen
11/2014AlabamaARSONOpen
5/2012GeorgiaARSONOpen
5/2012GeorgiaARSONOpen
5/2012MissouriARSONJedediah Stout is charged with attempted arson. Trial pending.
4/2012WisconsinARSONFrancis Grady was sentenced to 11 years for arson of a Planned Parenthood facility in Grand Chute, WI.
1/2012FloridaARSONBobby Joe Rogers was sentenced to 10 years for arson and damaging a reproductive health facility.
8/2011MichiganBOMBINGOpen
7/2011TexasARSONOpen
12/2007New MexicoARSONChad Altman and Sergio Baca pled guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and are awaiting sentencing.
5/2007VirginiaARSONRemains open
7/2005FloridaARSONRemains open
1/2005WashingtonARSON$500,000 Remains open
7/2004FloridaARSONRemain open
1/2004FloridaARSONRemains open
9/2003IndianaARSON$2,000 Remains open
5/2003FloridaARSONRemains open
1/2003IllinoisARSONRemains open
6/2002TexasARSONRemains open
6/2001WashingtonBOMB$6,000 Remains open
6/2001WashingtonARSONRemains open
4/2001KentuckyARSONRemains open
5/2000New HampshireARSON$20,000 Remains open
4/2000KentuckyARSONRemains open
4/2000FloridaARSON$2-3,000Remains open
8/1999New HampshireARSONApprox. $20,000Remains open
7/1999CaliforniaARSONMinimal damage to the clinic. Approx $100,000 damage to the building housing the clinic.Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams pled guilty and were sentenced to 21-30 years in jail for this fire and three synagogue arsons.
5/1999New MexicoARSON$5,000 Ricky Lee McDonald pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in jail.
4/1999WisconsinARSON$500Remains open
3/1999South DakotaARSONMinimalMartin Uphoff was convicted of using explosives during a felony, and vandalism to a facility providing health care services (a FACE charge). Uphoff was sentenced to 60 months for the felony and 6 months for the FACE charge, to be served concurrently.
3/1999New MexicoARSON$3,000 Ricky Lee McDonald pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in jail.
3/1999WisconsinARSONMinimalPeter Quinn, 17 admitted to this arson. He is being charged in state court as an adult.
3/1999North CarolinaBOMBMinimalRemains open
3/1999WisconsinARSON$1,000 Peter Quinn, 17 admitted to this arson. He is being charged in state court as an adult.
9/1998North CarolinaARSON$17,000 Remains open
9/1998North CarolinaARSON$7,000 Remains open
9/1998North CarolinaARSON$200Remains open
3/1998CaliforniaARSON$5,000 Remains open
12/1997New YorkARSONMinimalRemains open
10/1997OregonARSON$5,000 Remains open
8/1997AlabamaARSON$250,000 Remains open
5/1997OregonARSON$400,000 Remains open
5/1997WashingtonARSON$1,500 Remains open
3/1997MontanaBOMB$2,000 John Yankowski apprehended at clinic; convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison.
3/1997CaliforniaBOMB$1,000 Container of flammable liquid thrown through the window.
3/1997CaliforniaARSONUnknownPeter Howard, a local activist, put 13 gas cans and 3 propane tanks in his truck and drove it thru the clinic door. He was caught on the scene, pled guilty and was sentenced to 15 yrs in prison and fined $16, 320.87 for damages and restitution.
3/1997IowaBOMBUnknownRemains open
3/1997North CarolinaBOMB$50,000 Remains open
2/1997VirginiaARSON$25,000 James Anthony Mitchell of VA pleaded guilty and was sentenced to ten years in jail in September 1997.
1/1997GeorgiaBOMB$90,000+2 explosions. Eric Robert Rudolph is serving a life sentence for the bombings at Olympic Park, a gay bar, and two abortion clinics including the Georgia clinic.
1/1997OklahomaARSON$7,000 A juvenile was convicted in this and other arsons and bombings. Name sealed due to age.
1/1997OklahomaBOMB$2,500 A juvenile was convicted in this and other arsons and bombings. Name sealed due to age.
11/1996MissouriARSON$75,000 A juvenile was convicted in this and other arsons and bombings. Name sealed due to age.
9/1996OklahomaBOMB$1,000 A juvenile was convicted in this and other arsons and bombings. Name sealed due to age.
7/1996WashingtonBOMB$50,000 Brian Rattigan, Verne Jay Merrell, Charles Barbee and Robert Berry were convicted of conspiring in the bombing of the clinic and a bank robbery.
7/1996IdahoARSON$50,000 Remains open
5/1996IdahoARSON$400Remains open
11/1995FloridaARSON$100Remains open
11/1995FloridaARSON$400Remains open
9/1995WyomingARSON$50,000 In October 1997, Richard Thomas Andrews was indicted for setting three fires to clinics in Redding and Chico.
8/1995FloridaARSON$100,000 Remains open
8/1995FloridaARSON$40,000 Remains open
8/1995OregonARSON$200Remains open
5/1995OhioBOMBMinimalRemains open
3/1995VirginiaARSONunder $5,000Jennifer Spearle and Ryan Clark Martin were convicted.
2/1995CaliforniaARSON$500Remains open
2/1995CaliforniaARSON$300Remains open
2/1995CaliforniaARSON$50,000 Remains open
2/1995CaliforniaARSONMinimalRemains open
2/1995New MexicoARSON$5,000 Ricky Lee McDonald arrested by Services ATF 2/24/95 and convicted.
2/1995VirginiaARSON$500Remains open
2/1995CaliforniaARSON$1,000 Remains open
1/1995PennsylvaniaARSONunknownRemains open
1/1995New MexicoARSONMinimalRicky Lee McDonald arrested by ATF 2/24/95 and convicted.
12/1994KansasARSON$3,000 Remains open
12/1994VirginiaARSON$400Jennifer Spearle and Ryan Clark Martin were convicted.
12/1994South DakotaARSON$1,000 Remains open
11/1994CaliforniaBOMBMinimalRemains open
10/1994CaliforniaARSON$500Remains open
10/1994MontanaARSON$100,000 In October 1997, Richard Thomas Andrews was indicted for setting three fires to clinics in Redding and Chico.
10/1994CaliforniaARSON$35,000 In October 1997, Richard Thomas Andrews was indicted for setting three fires to clinics in Redding and Chico.
10/1994CaliforniaARSON$3,000 In October 1997, Richard Thomas Andrews was indicted for setting three fires to clinics in Redding and Chico.
8/1994MinnesotaARSON$373,000 Remains open
8/1994OhioARSON$100Remains open
7/1994VirginiaARSON$10,000 Remains open
12/1993New YorkARSON$150Janet Smith was arrested for throwing two molotov cocktails.
11/1993PennsylvaniaARSON$500Remains open
10/1993TexasARSON$20,000 On 3/14/94, Joshua Graff pled guilty & was sentenced to 39 months in prison.
9/1993PennsylvaniaARSON$130,000 Remains open
9/1993IllinoisARSON$7,500 Remains open
9/1993CaliforniaARSON$1.4 millionRemains open
9/1993CaliforniaBOMB$1,000 Remains open
8/1993FloridaARSON$500,000 Remains open
5/1993IdahoARSON$100,000 In October 1997, Richard Thomas Andrews was indicted for setting three fires to clinics in Redding and Chico.
5/1993OregonARSON$5,000 Remains open
3/1993MontanaARSON$100,000 In October 1997, Richard Thomas Andrews was indicted for setting three fires to clinics in Redding and Chico.
2/1993FloridaARSON$70,000 Remains open
2/1993TexasARSON$625,000 Remains open
12/1992CaliforniaARSON$50,000 Remains open
11/1992CaliforniaARSON$175,000 Rachelle Shannon pled guilty on 6/7/95 to 6 arson incidents and 2 acid incidents. Shannon was convicted of attempted murder of Dr. Tiller of Wichita, KS.
11/1992IllinoisARSON$2,500 Remains open
9/1992New MexicoARSON$500Remains open
9/1992VirginiaARSON$25,000 Remains open
9/1992OregonARSON$1,000+Rachelle Shannon pled guilty on 6/7/95 to 6 arson incidents and 2 acid incidents. Shannon was convicted of attempted murder of Dr. Tiller of Wichita, KS.
9/1992NevadaARSON$600Michael Andrew Fix was arrested on 9/28/92 by NV State Police. He was convicted in state court and sentenced to 2 years in prison.
9/1992NevadaARSON$5,000 Michael Andrew Fix was arrested on 9/28/92 by NV State Police. He was convicted in state court and sentenced to 2 years in prison
8/1992NevadaARSONMinimalMichael Andrew Fix was arrested on 9/28/92 by NV State Police. He was convicted in state court and sentenced to 2 years in prison.
8/1992OregonARSON$2,500 Rachelle Shannon pled guilty on 6/7/95 to 6 arson incidents and 2 acid incidents. Shannon was convicted of attempted murder of Dr. Tiller of Wichita, KS.
8/1992CaliforniaARSON$5,000 Rachelle Shannon pled guilty on 6/7/95 to 6 arson incidents and 2 acid incidents. Shannon was convicted of attempted murder of Dr. Tiller of Wichita, KS.
7/1992CaliforniaARSON$9,000 Remains open
6/1992CaliforniaARSON$70,000 In October 1997, Richard Thomas Andrews was indicted for setting three fires to clinics in Redding and Chico.
5/1992TorontoARSONRemains open
3/1992North DakotaARSON$2,000 Remains open
3/1992OregonARSON$225,000 Rachelle Shannon pled guilty on 6/7/95 to 6 arson incidents and 2 acid incidents. Shannon was convicted of attempted murder of Dr. Tiller of Wichita, KS.
3/1992OhioARSON$1,000 Remains open
1/1992TexasARSON$300,000 Remains open
1/1992MontanaARSON$75,000 Attributed to Richard Andrews though he was not charged due to statute of limitations.
11/1991FloridaARSONMinimalRemains open
8/1991North CarolinaARSON$50,000 Remains open
5/1991AlabamaARSON$80,000 Remains open
3/1991New JerseyARSON$500,000 Alan Weiselberg pled guilty to insurance and mail fraud. It was a prosecutorial decision not to prosecute on the arson charges.
3/1991North CarolinaARSONMinimalRobert Hugh Farley arrested 3/91. Committed to mental institution.
3/1991North CarolinaARSON$100,000 Robert Hugh Farley arrested 3/91. Committed to mental institution.
2/1991OhioARSON$250,000 Remains open
2/1991ArizonaARSON$300Remains open
2/1991OhioBOMB$10,000 Remains open
11/1990IndianaARSON$10,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
9/1990MassachusettsARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
9/1990CaliforniaARSON$50,000 David Brian Martin arrested for burglary; authorities ruled case not abortion-related.
8/1990WashingtonBOMB$400Closed under statute of limitations.
7/1990CaliforniaARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
7/1990CaliforniaARSON$30,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
5/1990OregonARSON$15,000 Daniel J. Carver indicted by state 6/1/90. Apprehended and pled guilty. Sentenced to three years in prison.
5/1990New YorkARSONMinimalShari DiNicola, arrested 5/28/90. Self-committed to mental institution. State will not prosecute
3/1990ArizonaARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
12/1989MissouriARSON$100,000 Two juveniles arrested on state juvenile charges for vandalism.
10/1989New JerseyARSONMinimalMarjorie Reed pled guilty to this and multiple other arson charges in 1992.
9/1989MichiganBOMB$300Closed under statute of limitations.
9/1989PennsylvaniaARSON$5,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
7/1989New HampshireARSON$1,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
3/1989FloridaARSON$50,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
3/1989TennesseeARSON$12,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
3/1989FloridaARSON$60,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
3/1989FloridaARSON$50,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
12/1988TexasARSON$25,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
12/1988TexasARSON$2,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
12/1988TexasARSON$65,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
10/1988CaliforniaARSON$50,000 Shannon Taylor convicted in state and sentenced to 8 years in prison.
6/1988CaliforniaARSONMinimalShannon Taylor convicted and sentenced to 8 years in prison.
12/1987AlabamaARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
10/1987MinnesotaARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
9/1987MinnesotaARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
9/1987MinnesotaARSON$5,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
9/1987MinnesotaARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
8/1987North DakotaARSON$500Scott Garman pled guilty. Sentenced to 2 months in prison, 2 years probation, and $215 fine. A juvenile was tried in state court and sentenced to two years deferred sentence and 100 hours community service.
7/1987CaliforniaBOMBMinimalDorman Owens, Joanne Kreipel, Cheryl Sullinger, Randy Sullinger, Chris Harmon, Robin Harmon and Erick Svelmoe were convicted of conspiracy and were given sentences ranging from 149 days to five years.
6/1987OhioARSON$1,000 Marjorie Reed pled guilty to this and multiple other arson charges in 1992. She served 5 years and was released in September 1997.
3/1987OhioARSON$1,000 Marjorie Reed pled guilty to this and multiple other arson charges in 1992. She served 5 years and was released in September 1997.
1/1987MinnesotaARSON$1,500 Mark J. Bundlie confessed to arson. Committed indefinitely to state institution.
1/1987IllinoisARSONMinimalDavid Holman pled guilty. Received 18 months imprisonment and 3 years probation.
12/1986CaliforniaARSON$35,000 Frederick Gordan Tipps arrested. Pled guilty to arson to cover burglary.
12/1986New YorkBOMBMinimalIn connection with this and other New York bombings, Dennis John Malvasi pled guilty to 3 counts & received five years in prison; Carl Cenera pled guilty and received three years in prison; Frank Wright, Jr., pled guilty and received two years in prison.
12/1986MichiganARSON$750,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
12/1986IllinoisARSONMinimalDavid Holman pled guilty. Received 18 months imprisonment and 3 years probation.
11/1986IllinoisARSONMinimalDavid Holman pled guilty. Received 18 months imprisonment and 3 years probation.
10/1986New YorkBOMB$10,000 In connection with this and other New York bombings, Dennis John Malvasi pled guilty to 3 counts & received five years in prison; CarlCenera pled guilty and received three years in prison; Frank Wright, Jr., pled guilty and received two years in prison.
6/1986MissouriARSON$100,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
6/1986KansasBOMB$100,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
5/1986OhioARSON$200,000 Marjorie Reed pled guilty to this and multiple other arson charges in 1992. She served 5 years in prison and was released in September 1997.
12/1985OhioARSON$75,000+John Brockhoeft pled guilty to one count arson in connection with multiple cases. Sentenced to 7 years in prison. Released in 1995.
12/1985OhioARSON$35,000 John Brockhoeft pled guilty to one count arson in connection with multiple cases. Sentenced to 7 years in prison. Released in 1995.
12/1985New YorkBOMBMinimalIn connection with this and other NY bombings, Dennis John Malvasi pled guilty to 3 counts and received 5 years in prison; Carl Cenera pled guilty and received 3 years in prison; Frank Wright, Jr., pled guilty and received 2 years in prison. Donald C. pryor, Jr. pled guilty but died before sentencing.
12/1985OhioARSON$20,000 Marjorie Reed pled guilty to this and multiple other arson charges in 1992. She served 5 years in prison and was released in September 1997.
10/1985LouisianaARSON$20,000 Brent Paul Braud, Derrick James Jarreau, John David Newchurch, and Charles Albert Cheshire Jr. each pled guilty to one count. Braud and Jarreau were sentenced to 2 years in prison and a $50 special assessment Newchurch was sentenced to 5 years, subject to review after a psychiatric exam.
10/1985LouisianaARSON$300,000 Brent Paul Braud, Derrick James Jarreau, John David Newchurch, and Charles Albert Cheshire Jr. each pled guilty to one count. Braud and Jarreau were sentenced to 2 years in prison and a $50 special assessment. Newchurch was sentenced to 5 years, subject to review after a psychiatric exam. Cheshire was sentenced to 5 years and ordered to pay $314,000 in restitution.
10/1985North CarolinaARSON$75,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
3/1985CaliforniaARSON$10,000 Shane Cameron arrested. Convicted on unrelated arson charges.
2/1985TexasARSON$1,500,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
1/1985Washington, DCBOMB$100,000+Kenneth Shields and Thomas Spinks.
12/1984FloridaBOMB$100,000+Matthew Goldsby and James Simmons convicted in U.S. District Court; sentenced to 10 years in prison and $353,073.66 in fines. (Assessed only $350). Kathren Simmons and Kaye Wiggins convicted for conspiracy, received 5 years probation and $2,000 in fines. (Assessed only $50).
12/1984FloridaBOMB$225,000+Matthew Goldsby and James Simmons convicted in U.S. District Court; sentenced to 10 years in prison and $353,073.66 in fines. (Assessed only $350). Kathren Simmons and Kaye Wiggins convicted for conspiracy, received 5 years probation and $2,000 in fines. (Assessed only $50).
12/1984FloridaBOMB$100,000+Matthew Goldsby and James Simmons convicted in U.S. District Court; sentenced to 10 years in prison and $353,073.66 in fines. (Assessed only $350). Kathren Simmons and Kaye Wiggins convicted for conspiracy, received 5 years probation and $2,000 in fines.
12/1984MarylandBOMB$150,000 Kenneth Shields and Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and was ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution. Michael Bray entered Alford plea, in which the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges he would be found guilty if tried, and was sentenced to six years.
11/1984MarylandBOMB$300,000 Kenneth Shields and Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and was ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution.
11/1984Washington, DCBOMBMinimalKenneth Shields and Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and was ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution. Michael Bray entered Alford plea, in which the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges he would be found guilty if tried, and was sentenced to six years.
11/1984MarylandBOMB$50,000 Kenneth Shields and Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and was ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution.
11/1984TexasARSON$400,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
9/1984GeorgiaARSON$8,000+Closed under statute of limitations.
9/1984CaliforniaARSON$125,000+Closed under statute of limitations.
9/1984GeorgiaARSON$5,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
9/1984TexasARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
9/1984TexasARSONMinimalClosed under statute of limitations.
9/1984TexasARSON$90,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
9/1984TexasARSON$10,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
8/1984TexasARSON$30,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
7/1984MarylandBOMB$50,000+Kenneth Shields and Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and was ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution.
7/1984Washington, DCBOMB$40,000 Kenneth Shields & Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and was ordered to pay $55,000 in restitution.
6/1984FloridaBOMB$200,000 Matthew Goldsby and James Simmons were arrested. U.S. Attorney declined to prosecute because of changes in insanity law. Both men and their girlfriends were prosecuted and convicted in district court. See 12/84 Florida cases.
5/1984OregonARSON$1,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
3/1984WashingtonARSON$55,000 Curtis Beseda convicted in U.S. District Court; received two consecutive 10-year terms, 5 years probation, and ordered to pay $295,000 in restitution.
3/1984WashingtonARSON$10,000 Curtis Beseda convicted in U.S. District Court; received two consecutive 10-year terms, 5 years probation, and ordered to pay $295,000 in restitution.
3/1984WashingtonARSON$70,000 Curtis Beseda convicted in U.S. District Court; received two consecutive 10-year terms, 5 years probation, and ordered to pay $295,000 in restitution.
2/1984MarylandARSON$100,000 Kenneth Shields & Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and $55,000 in restitution. Michael Bray entered Alford plea, in which the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges he would be found guilty if tried, and was sentenced to six years.
2/1984VirginiaARSON$1,000 Kenneth Shields & Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and $55,000 in restitution. Michael Bray entered Alford plea, in which the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges he would be found guilty if tried, and was sentenced to six years.
1/1984DelawareARSON$100,000 Kenneth Shields & Thomas Spinks pled guilty to conspiracy in connection with this and 9 other cases. Shields received 15 years and $55,000 in restitution. Michael Bray entered Alford plea, in which the defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges he would be found guilty if tried, and was sentenced to six years.
12/1983WashingtonARSON$45,000 Curtis Beseda convicted in U.S. District Court; received two consecutive 10-year terms, 5 years probation, and ordered to pay $295,000 in restitution.
5/1983VirginiaARSON$250,000 Joseph Grace convicted in state court. Regarding this and other arson charges, he was sentenced to 10-20 years in Virginia state prison. Scheduled for release: April, 1999.
10/1982New JerseyARSON$100,000+Closed under statute of limitations.
6/1982VirginiaBOMB$18,000 Don Benny Anderson & Matthew Moore convicted in state court. Both pled guilty and received 30 years, to be served consecutively with 30-year sentence received by Anderson, Matthew Moore and brother Wayne Moore for kidnapping of Illinois physician and his wife.
5/1982FloridaARSON$340,000 Don Benny Anderson & Matthew Moore convicted in state court. Both pled guilty and received 30 years, to be served consecutively with 30-year sentence received by Anderson, Matthew Moore and brother Wayne Moore for kidnapping of Illinois physician and his wife.
5/1982FloridaARSON$122,000 Don Benny Anderson & Matthew Moore convicted in state court. Both pled guilty and received 30 years, to be served consecutively with 30-year sentence received by Anderson, Matthew Moore and brother Wayne Moore for kidnapping of Illinois physician and his wife.
1/1982IllinoisARSON$100,000+Closed under statute of limitations.
4/1981MichiganARSON$30,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
2/1979New YorkARSON$100,000+Peter Burkin entered clinic during working hours, set it on fire and injured himself, risking staff & patientsu00d5 lives. Acquitted of attempted murder and arson; found not guilty by reason of insanity on charges of arson and reckless endangerment.
6/1978IowaBOMBUnknownClosed under statute of limitations.
6/1978OhioBOMBUnknownClosed under statute of limitations.
5/1978VermontBOMBUnknownClosed under statute of limitations.
2/1978OhioARSONUnknownClosed under statute of limitations.
2/1978OhioBOMB$3,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
2/1978OhioARSON$200,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
2/1978OhioARSON$100,000+Closed under statute of limitations. (Man entered clinic, blinded a technician by throwing chemicals, and set center on fire, destroying it. Clinic was full of patients at the time; they escaped without injury).
11/1977OhioARSON$4,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
8/1977NebraskaARSON$35,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
5/1977VermontARSON$100,000+Closed under statute of limitations.
2/1977MinnesotaARSON$250,000 Closed under statute of limitations.
3/1976OregonARSON$19,000 Joseph C. Stockett was convicted and served two years in prison.
Butyric acid is a clear, colorless liquid with an unpleasant, rancid, vomit-like odor. Anti-abortion extremists began using butyric acid as a weapon against abortion facilities in early 1992. The goal of introducing butyric acid into a clinic is to disrupt services, close the clinic, and harass patients and staff. Depending on the amount used and how it is introduced into the clinic, butyric acid can cause thousands of dollars of damage, requiring clinics to replace carpeting, furniture, and conduct extensive cleanup of the facility. In addition, even after cleanup, butyric acid’s smell leaves a reminder of the incident for months, and often years, to come.

There have been about 100 butyric acid attacks throughout the United States and Canada, causing in excess of $1 million in damages.

The table below contains fewer than 100 entries. This is because in many cases multiple clinics were targeted in the same city on the same day.

DateState/ProvinceEst. Damage
7/1998TexasUnknown
7/1998TexasUnknown
7/1998TexasUnknown
7/1998TexasUnknown
7/1998LouisianaUnknown
7/1998LouisianaUnknown
7/1998Louisiana$13,000
7/1998LouisianaUnknown
7/1998LouisianaUnknown
5/1998FloridaUnknown
5/1998FloridaUnknown
5/1998FloridaUnknown
5/1998FloridaUnknown
5/1998Florida$3,000
5/1998FloridaUnknown
5/1998FloridaUnknown
5/1998FloridaUnknown
5/1998FloridaUnknown
5/1998FloridaUnknown
11/1996Alberta
5/1994Texas$1,000
5/1994New York$10,000
4/1994New York$60,000
4/1994Nebraska$1,000
2/1994IndianaMinor
2/1994Wisconsin$1,000
10/1993Colorado$1,000
8/1993Wisconsin$40,000
8/1993Wisconsin$10,000
5/1993Indiana$150,000
3/1993California$100,000+
3/1993Kansas$5,000
2/1993Texas$10,000
12/1992Florida$5,000
11/1992Texas$750
10/1992Louisianaunknown
10/1992Florida$3,000
10/1992Louisianaunknown
10/1992Alabama$25,000+
10/1992Texas$3,000
10/1992Louisiana$28,000
9/1992Michigan$40,000
9/1992Texas$500
9/1992Michigan$60,000
9/1992Michigan$13,000
9/1992California$7,000
9/1992Michigan$7,000
9/1992Nevada$2,000
7/1992Michigan$3,000
7/1992Ohio$20,000
6/1992Kansas$500
6/1992Illinois$5,000
6/1992Illinois$1,500
6/1992Illinois$2,000
5/1992Tennessee$200,000
4/1992Kentucky$800
4/1992Michigan$1,000
4/1992Michigan$5,000
3/1992Texas$25,000
3/1992Colorado$15,000
1/1991Ontario$1,000
Letters threatening anthrax poisoning were first used to terrorize and disrupt reproductive health care clinics in October 1998, just days after the murder of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian. At that time, about a dozen clinics across the country received letters that claimed to contain anthrax toxin. They threatened that clinic personnel exposed to the letters would die. Since then, additional anthrax threat letters have been received by clinics in February and June 1999, January 2000, October and November 2001, and January 2002. As of January 2002, approximately 654 letters have been received by clinics across the United States.

Letters were postmarked from various places including Kentucky, Ohio, Georgia, New York, and Washington, DC. Early letters contained no return addresses, but after law enforcement agents advised clinic personnel around the country to avoid opening mail from anonymous senders, letters started arriving with phony return addresses that included fictitious medical supply companies, the department of taxation, other clinics, law enforcement agencies, and pro-choice organizations.

While investigation has proven that none of the letters have actually contained anthrax toxin, virtually every case has resulted in frightening clinic staff and patients, disrupting services, and wasting valuable law enforcement resources.

The 554 letters sent via U.S. Mail and FedEx in 2001 have been attributed to anti-abortion extremist Clayton Waagner. Waagner was convicted in December 2003 of various charges including threatening the use of a weapon of mass destruction for sending the letters. He is in prison awaiting sentencing.

Suspicious mail guidelines from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (PDF file, 288K)

Chronology of Anthrax Threat Letters

1998
12
1999
35
2000
30
2001
554
2002
23
Total
654