Walking the Gauntlet: Daily Harassment of Women Patients, Clinics, and Healthcare Workers

Harassment of Women Patients, Clinics, and Healthcare Workers

Walking the Gauntlet demonstrates the extreme tactics employed by the anti-abortion industry to intimidate patients, clinic staff and doctors in front of the clinic on a daily basis. These may appear to be ordinary protesters, but many are in fact trained operatives engaged in a systematic campaign to shut down access to women's health clinics.

The 2016 National Clinic Violence Survey asked clinics how often they experience anti-abortion activity, including protests and demonstrations. Nearly 25% of clinics report they experience anti-abortion activity at their facility on a daily basis. Another 38.4% report that such activity occurs weekly. Thus, some 63.2% of women's health clinics nationwide experience frequent and regular anti-abortion activity. An additional 27.9% of clinics report occasional activity. This means that the overwhelming majority of clinics (91.1%) report experiencing some type of anti-abortion activity in the first half of 2016, with 63.2% of providers experiencing activity at least once a week. By contrast, in 2014, 88% of clinics reported experiencing some type of anti-abortion activity, with 42.8% reporting weekly activity.

In addition to daily, weekly, and occasional harassment and intimidation of clinics, there are planned events targeting clinics by groups Operation Rescue, Operation Save America, Created Equal, and others.

For example, in July 2016, Operation Save America targeted two clinics in Wichita, Kansas, for a week of hostile demonstrations to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the so-called Summer of Mercy against Dr. George Tiller's clinic. Tiller, who was shot 5 times in 1993 and experienced severe harassment from 2002-2009 by the campaign of Operation Rescue to close Tiller's clinics.

On February 11, 2017, Planned Parenthood clinics will be the focus of a series of protests nationwide by primary sponsors Created Equal, Pro-Life Action League, and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.

Created Equal was founded in Ohio by Mark Harrington (formerly the leader of the Genocide Awareness Project for the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform) in 2011. Created Equal’s Killers Among Us Campaign (#KillersAmongUs) specializes in harassing and intimidating clinics and physicians. Created Equal creates and distributes WANTED-style flyers and posters with the photographs, names, and home addresses of physicians and the group has terrorized doctors at their homes in Ohio, New Mexico, California, and other states. Created Equal and Operation Rescue have joined together to sponsor demonstrations against abortion providers.

The Pro Life Action League was founded by Joseph Scheidler in 1980. Scheidler published in 1985 Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion, a virtual how-to manual of the militant wing of the anti-abortion movement that contains instruction on how to "picket the abortionists' homes", "use 'inflammatory rhetoric'", and how to "get information from license plates."