Unprecedented violence and threats against abortion providers in 2015

The National Abortion Federation (NAF) has compiled statistics on incidents of violence and disruption against abortion providers in the USA for almost 40 years, according to a press release they issued this month. The statistics for 2015 “reflect a dramatic increase in hate speech and internet harassment, death threats, attempted murder, and murder, which coincided with the release of heavily-edited, misleading, and inflammatory videos beginning in July.”Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 185 arsons, and thousands more incidents of criminal behaviour directed at abortion providers, according to their data.Three of the 11 killings happened in November 2015, when Robert Lewis Dear Jr. allegedly laid siege on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.There were 94 threats of direct harm in 2015 as compared to only one such threat in 2014. After the videos maligning Planned Parenthood (which have been completely discredited) were released, one NAF member received a voicemail that said someone planned to “…wipe everyone out”. An unknown male called a hospital switchboard in North Carolina and said: “We will kill all [hospital] abortion doctors.”The threats of violence were so overwhelming that NAF hired a security firm to monitor online threats. The security firm began its work in mid-November, four months after the smear videos were first released. The security firm identified more than 25,000 incidents of online threats in six weeks.There has also been a sharp rise in clinic violence. NAF, through its online monitoring work, identified an anti-choice radical who advocated online setting clinics on fire en masse. Within three months of that post, according to NAF’s report, clinics in Washington, Louisiana, California, and Illinois were victims of arson. A clinic in New Hampshire was damaged when someone broke into the clinic and used a hatchet to destroy equipment, exam rooms, computers, phones, and plumbing fixtures, which flooded the clinic.SOURCE: Rewire (formerly RH Reality Check)