Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-21-99

WAR OF ATTRITION TARGETS ABORTION CLINICS NATIONWIDE

Eleanor Smeal, national feminist leader and one of the nation's leading experts on anti-abortion terrorism, today released the results of the Feminist Majority Foundation's sixth annual National Clinic Violence Survey Report, the most comprehensive study of anti-abortion violence in the United States.

The 1998 survey shows that in the first seven months of 1998, 22.2% of clinics experienced one or more forms of severe violence including blockades, invasions, bomb threats, and bombings, arson threats and arsons, chemical attacks, death threats, and stalking. This percentage is slightly down from 24.8% in 1997 and sharply down from its high mark 51.9% in 1994.

"The fact that one-quarter of the women's health clinics in this country are battered day after day with violence is unconscionable. We must have zero tolerance for domestic terrorism," said Smeal.

"Public opinion supporting legal abortion in the United States is solidly pro-choice. Anti-abortion extremists are trying to win in the streets a battle that they can not win in the political arena. The strategy of the violent wing of the anti-abortion movement is a stealth 'war of attrition' - extremists target one clinic, attempt to wipe it out or close it down, and, then, move on to another. The war of attrition against clinics continued in 1998," Smeal continued.

The 1998 survey found that the percentage of clinics that experienced high violence (4.3%) grew even smaller in 1998 as the numbers of clinics facing moderate violence or no violence increased. As a result, the gap between the percentage of clinics experiencing high levels of violence and those without violence widened and anti-abortion attacks became even more concentrated on a smaller number of clinics in 1998.

"With the murder of Dr. Slepian, the fatal bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, and the series of firebombings and chemical attacks, it is surprising that the overall level of violence did not escalate in 1998. The other good news is that the number of clinics reporting no violence continues to grow. In 1998, 63.5% of clinics were free from violence, harassment or intimidation - twice as many as experienced violence. And the number of staff resignations as a result of anti-abortion violence decreased to 4.8%. The vigilance of the pro-choice community and the increased responsiveness of law enforcement coupled with better enforcement of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE) contributed to the containment of violence in 1998," said Jennifer Jackman, Ph.D., the Feminist Majority Foundation's Director of Policy and Research and an author of the survey report.

Once again, the 1998 National Clinic Violence Survey found a strong correlation between lower levels of violence and better law enforcement response. Of clinics that reported law enforcement response as "excellent" in 1998, only 6.2% experienced high levels of violence, compared with 15.8% of clinics that characterized local law enforcement as "poor."

Smeal explained, "We are encouraged by the impact of improved law enforcement response in reducing clinic violence. Working together, we have won major battles to protect clinics and have dramatically reduced the proportion of clinics that experience day to day violence and harassment. We call upon every law enforcement officer, every citizen, and every political organization to adopt a zero tolerance policy towards this stealth war of attrition, which is being waged against one quarter of our nation's abortion clinics."

1998 Clinic Violence Survey

Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation - January 21, 1999


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska. The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services. The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge. Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska. "By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read. "We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
 
8/27/2015 Los Angeles Mayor Announces Model Gender Equity Directive - On Women's Equality Day Eric Garcetti, the Mayor of Los Angeles, signed a progressive and inclusive executive directive to take a major step toward gender equity for the city and to be a model for other cities. . . .
 
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections. This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .