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Clinic Violence

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We were told our two options: we could terminate the pregnancy or carry the baby to term and see what happened. I asked point blank about the chances of a miracle. They had no optimistic outcome to share with us.

Jeni, 34

At almost 21 weeks, Scott and I went to our appointment with the specialist. The sonogram operator asked us to be quiet, immediately changing the mood of the room.

On May 31, 2009, Dr. George Tiller was murdered inside his church in Wichita, Kansas. He was killed because he was a doctor who provided abortion services.

Every day, the brave men and women who work in health centers face threats of murder, violence, and intimidation. Even the patients who visit these clinics are harassed. Anti-choice extremists use these tactics to block women's access to medical care.

Anti-choice intimidation and violence is unacceptable.

The Challenge

Here is a list of the kind of violence that providers, their families, and patients face:

  • Murder
  • Bombing
  • Arson
  • Death threats
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Harassing phone calls
  • Stalking
  • Vandalism

Abortion providers must protect themselves, their families, their staff, and their patients. Many doctors and nurses wear bullet-proof vests to work. It's no surprise that there aren't enough doctors willing to provide abortion services.

The Supreme Court decision in McCullen v. Coakley put women and health-care providers at greater risk. The high court overturned Massachusetts' buffer zone law, which provided an area free from anti-choice harassment and intimidation outside of abortion clinics.

Our Solution

While Massachusetts' law was overturned, many other states still have buffer zone laws in place. We must continue to pass these essential protections.

We must also call on the police and other law officials to enforce these laws. Protecting women and their health-care providers must be a priority.

There are many ways you can help:

  • Volunteer to be a clinic escort
  • Donate to your local clinic
  • Show your appreciation for clinic staff with letters of support and appreciation

Laws About Clinic Violence

Summary of State and Federal Laws

Protection Against Clinic Violence

17 states and the District of Columbia have measures that protect health-care facilities, providers, and/or patients from blockades, harassment, and/or other violence: CA, CO, CT, DC, KS, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MT, NV, NH, NY, NC, OR, WA, WI.

  • 3 of these states have buffer zones that protect patients and clinic personnel from unwanted harassment within specified distances from clinics: CO, MT, NH.
  • 1 state buffer zone is not currently enforced: NH.

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