Since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal, there has been an organized campaign by anti-abortion extremists which has resulted in escalating levels of violence against women's health care providers. In an attempt to stop abortion, anti-abortion extremists have chosen to take the law into their own hands.
What began as peaceful protests with picketing moved to harassing clinic staff and patients as they entered clinics and eventually escalated to blockading clinic entrances.
This foundation of harassment led to violence with the first reported clinic arson in 1976 and a series of bombings in 1978. Arsons and bombings have continued until this day. Anti-abortion extremists have also used chemicals to block women's access to abortion employing butyric acid to vandalize clinics and sending anthrax threat letters to frighten clinic staff.
In the early 1990s, anti-abortion extremists concluded that murdering providers was the only way to stop abortion. The first provider was murdered in 1993. Since then, there have been seven subsequent murders and numerous attempted murders of clinic staff and physicians, several of which occurred in their own homes. In 2009, NAF member Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed in his church in Wichita, Kansas.
The following are incidents that were reported to or obtained by NAF. Extreme violence has the potential to destroy clinics and harm the lives of clinic staff. More
Anti-abortion extremists perpetrated an unprecedented level of violence in 1993 with the first murder of an abortion provider, Dr. David Gunn. Since that time, anti-abortion extremists have murdered or attempted to murder others involved in reproductive health care. More
Arsons and bombings at clinics can cause widespread destruction. Over two hundred of these crimes have been committed against reproductive health care clinics since the mid-1970s. More
Butyric acid is a clear, colorless liquid with an unpleasant, rancid, vomit-like odor. Anti-abortion extremists began using butyric acid as a weapon against abortion facilities in early 1991. Butyric acid disrupts services, closes clinics for clean-up, and harasses patients and staff. More
From 1998 through 2002 letters threatening to contain anthrax were used as a tool to intimidate clinics. Over 650 letters have been received, causing clinics to be closed and staff to be subjected to decontamination procedures and placed on unnecessary medications. None of the letters ultimately contained real anthrax. Clayton Waagner was convicted of sending 554 of the letters, but no arrests have been made in the remaining 100 cases. More