For Immediate Release

February 9, 2017

Over One-Third of U.S. Abortion Clinics Experience Severe Violence and Harassment According to New Feminist Majority Foundation Survey

New Spotlight Video Captures Real-Life Examples of Hostile Anti-Abortion Activity


FEBRUARY 9, 2017—The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) today released the results from the 2016 National Clinic Violence Survey, finding that severe anti-abortion violence and threats of violence against women’s health clinics have skyrocketed since 2014.

The increase in violence occurred against the backdrop of the misleading videos targeting Planned Parenthood, released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) in the summer of 2015, as well as a divisive election cycle that featured strong anti-abortion rhetoric. The survey found:

  • The number of clinics that experienced the most severe types of threats and violence, including death threats, stalking and blocking clinic access, dramatically increased from 19.7% of providers in the first half of 2014 to 34.2% of providers in the first half of 2016.
  • Half of clinics nationwide (49.5%) experienced at least one incident of severe violence and/or at least one incident of severe harassment, such as break-ins and vandalism, in the first half of 2016.
  • Clinics that rated their experience with local law enforcement as “poor” or “fair” were significantly more likely to experience high levels of severe violence and harassment (47%) than those who rated local law enforcement “good” or “excellent” (16%).
  • 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.

More on the survey is available here.

Accompanying this report, the “Walking the Gauntlet” video released by FMF 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 the years FMF has spent monitoring clinic violence show that many are in fact trained operatives engaged in a systematic campaign to shut down access to women’s health clinics.

“The hateful and violent rhetoric that is spouted constantly creates a hostile climate where violence thrives,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “We’ve been doing this survey since 1993 and seen time and time again that this rhetoric quickly escalates to threats. And when threats go up, violence occurs. You cannot consistently call women and doctors murderers and then escape responsibility when others are emboldened to commit violence.”

The release of the survey and video comes on the eve of a series of rallies occurring nationwide to defund Planned Parenthood scheduled for Saturday, February 11.

“Across the country women are forced to walk the gauntlet just to access healthcare at a whole host of different types of women’s health clinics—and this weekend, Planned Parenthood is the target,” Smeal said. “The public must be aware that this is no ordinary protesting. As our 2016 survey shows, this hostile climate at women’s health clinics and towards healthcare workers is accompanied by an increase in severe violence and threats.”




Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Clinic Access Project, which was launched in 1989, leads efforts nationwide to reduce anti-abortion violence, to keep women’s health personnel and patients safe, to keep clinics open, and to bring violent anti-abortion extremists to justice.

The 2016 National Clinic Violence Survey tracks the rates of clinic violence in the first six months of 2016, measuring responses from 319 independent and affiliated abortion providers from across the country. It is the Feminist Majority Foundation’s 14th comprehensive nationwide survey of women’s health clinics conducted since 1993.




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