Statement of The Very Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) on President Trump’s unprecedented decision to attend the anti-choice March for Life:
President Trump’s decision to attend the March for Life signals a clear endorsement of the lies, harassment, and threats that come from the anti-abortion movement.
President Trump has seen the praise extremists heap upon him when he parrots the anti-abortion propaganda that has long been Vice President Pence’s stock in trade. Demonizing health care providers and women who rely on them for abortion care has become one of Trump’s go-to pivots. This dangerous rhetoric has very real consequences.
Every year, NAF releases the most comprehensive tracking of anti-abortion violence and disruption statistics. Our members, comprising independent and Planned Parenthood clinics; private practices; and hospitals, submit monthly reports of the violence and disruption they experience. In 2018, the number of individuals attempting to intimidate patients and disrupt patient services continued to increase at an alarming rate. Incidents of anti-abortion picketers obstructing a person’s entrance to or exit from an abortion clinic or otherwise delaying the clinic’s ability to provide care went from 580 in 2016, to 3,038 in 2018. Our members continue to receive an alarming number of death threats/threats of harm and have experienced an increase in incidents of vandalism, trespassing, hate mail/harassing calls, clinic blockades, and more. These are all methods aimed at intimidating, harassing, and threatening abortion providers.
Elected officials should be condemning the behavior of these anti-abortion groups, not headlining their events.
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. NAF unites, represents, serves, and supports abortion providers in delivering patient-centered, evidence-based care.