FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Abortion Providers and Escorts Join with Rep. Donna F. Edwards and Reproductive Rights Leaders to Urge House Select Investigative Panel to Focus on Anti-Abortion Violence, or to Disband
Abortion Providers Share Personal Stories of Harassment, Intimidation, and Threats
JANUARY 21, 2016 – On the eve of the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Feminist Majority Foundation joins Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards (MD-04), abortion providers, clinic escorts, patients, and a coalition of women’s groups to call on the House Select Investigative Panel to redirect its focus to anti-abortion clinic violence, harassment, and intimidation, or to disband.
Patients and providers across the country routinely experience harassment and intimidation. “There are anti-abortion extremists who frequent the area outside our clinic,” explained North Carolina volunteer clinic escort Shana Broders. “They block the driveway and the street trying to prevent people from getting to the clinic. They confront patients who park their cars on the street and then follow them to and from the clinic. They stick their hands into people’s cars to throw materials at them. They scream in people’s faces. They use vile and threatening language. It’s all meant to intimidate and shame patients from getting services or to harass providers and try to force the clinic to close.”
“The House Select Investigative Panel must focus on the real threats to women’s health – the constant harassment, intimidation, and threats that plague abortion providers and clinic staff who are trying to provide basic healthcare services to women,” said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal. “These tactics, used to scare and harass patients and providers contribute to a climate of violence. No law-abiding business – let alone a women’s healthcare facility that provides essential services—should be forced to deal with this unacceptable treatment. When did the right to life become the right to terrorize?”
Targeted threats and intimidation of abortion providers has nearly doubled over four years. According to the Feminist Majority Foundation’s 2014 National Clinic Violence Survey, the percentage of clinics impacted by targeted threats and intimidation has increased from 26.6% of clinics in 2010 to 51.9% in 2014. In the past, an increase in threat levels has preceded an increase in violence.
The Feminist Majority Foundation has been joined in this press conference by Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-04) and a coalition of organizations, including the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood Metro Washington, and In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. For more information, see our campaign website.
CONTACT: Beth Rader