NAF Members Targeted by Anti-Choice Campaign
This week starts an annual anti-choice campaign that will target a number of our members with increased protests and disruption for the next 40 days. Although the majority of our members deal with protesters throughout the year, they may see an increase during this campaign, with some having protesters outside of their facilities 24 hours a day.
Events like these only add to the unnecessary and intimidating gauntlet that women must walk through on their way to obtain legal medical care. According to a survey of NAF members, 92% of responding facilities reported that they are concerned about the safety of their patients in the areas approaching the facility—and that includes at times when they aren’t the target of special protest campaigns. Watch what it’s like for patients to walk up to the door of a clinic.
Since legalization, those who oppose abortion have used threats and violence, including murder, arson, bombing, and chemical attacks in an attempt to dissuade providers from offering women comprehensive reproductive health care. A recent national survey of abortion providers showed the number of clinics who have experienced targeted intimidation and threats against staff has nearly doubled since 2010. And in just the past couple of weeks, hundreds of NAF members were mailed a package containing handcuffs and a threatening note by an anti-choice group.
Unfortunately, the types of protests, intimidation, and threats that take place outside of abortion providing facilities have been tolerated for so long that in some communities they have become socially acceptable and normalized for facility staff, law enforcement, and patients. But these activities are not acceptable or mainstream. Women and clinic staff should be able to walk into facilities without interference, intimidation, threats, or violence. And we will be working with our members during the next 40 days to ensure that women can safely access the abortion care they need.