Today, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) released its 2017 statistics on violence and disruption against abortion providers. With anti-abortion extremists feeling emboldened by the current political environment, NAF members reported an escalation of hostility and targeted activity in 2017. Trespassing more than tripled, death threats/threats of harm nearly doubled, and incidents of obstruction rose from 580 in 2016 to more than 1,700 in 2017. We also continued to see an increase in targeted hate mail/harassing phone calls, and clinic invasions, and had the first attempted bombing in many years.
“We know that hostile rhetoric, including rhetoric from anti-abortion elected officials, can incite some to take the law into their own hands by threatening abortion providers and committing acts of violence,” said Vicki Saporta, NAF President and CEO. “We cannot be silent as others continue to publicly vilify doctors and clinic staff, thereby jeopardizing their personal safety, in order to advance their own personal and political agendas.”
“Given the political climate and the increase in hate incidents throughout the country, it is more important than ever that law enforcement and prosecutors appropriately respond to anti-abortion criminal activity.”
NAF has been compiling statistics on incidents of violence and disruption against abortion providers for 40 years. Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 187 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at abortion providers.
- NAF identified more than 800 incidents of trespassing—the most since NAF’s tabulation of trespassing first began in 1999.
- Incidents of invasions of health care facilities reached the highest number since 1993.
- The reported number of picketing incidents continued to increase in 2017, with 78,114 incidents reported—which far exceeds any other year since we began tracking these statistics in 1977.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia. Our mission is to ensure safe, legal, and accessible abortion care, which promotes health and justice for women.