There Was a Staggering Increase in Violence, Threats Against Abortion Providers in 2015

Abortion clinics and providers suffered a sharp rise in murders, attempted murders, death threats, hate speech and internet harassment committed against them in 2015 according to a new report by The National Abortion Federation.


Threats of direct harm against abortion providers soared from a single reported incident in 2014 to 94 the following year; documented cases of online hate speech rose from 91 to 25,839 in 2015, and the number of facility pickets climbed from 5,402 to a record-breaking 21,715. The number of clinic blockades, meanwhile, nearly doubled in 2015 from the level the year before.

Violent incidents, which had been on the decline in previous years, peaked in the aftermath of the November shooting of a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic.

The NAF detailed the long history of violence against abortion providers leading up to the Planned Parenthood attack.

“Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 185 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at abortion providers,” the report states. “Three of those murders happened in November 2015, when Robert Dear opened fire at an abortion facility in Colorado Springs, killing three people and wounding nine others.”

The report also claimed that the “alarming” rise in violent incidents “directly correlates to the release of inflammatory videos aimed at demonizing providers” released by The Center for Medical Progress last year.

According to Slate, the verdict on the causality of the videos remains unclear, with the Los Angeles Times remarking that, “There is no evidence that [the attack] was a direct result of the anti-Planned Parenthood fervor.”

The Times, however, emphasized the continuous threat faced by abortion providers in the United States.

“Still, it is important to remember that as long as abortion has been legal in the U.S., abortion clinics throughout the country have been subject to arson and bombings,” they wrote.

The National Abortion Federation highlighted the importance of reversing this disturbing trend.

“We cannot continue to allow anti-abortion extremists to use violence to advance their own personal, political agendas,” they wrote. “Nor can we continue to allow them to contribute to a climate that encourages violence against abortion providers.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.