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1997 Clinic Violence Survey Report

A Five Year Analysis of Anti-Abortion Violence Trends Conducted by the Feminist Majority Foundation


For the fifth consecutive year, the Feminist Majority Foundation conducted a nationwide survey of anti-abortion violence directed at abortion providers. This longitudinal analysis is the most comprehensive study of anti-abortion violence directed at clinics, patients and health care workers in the United States and its territories over the past 5 years. The survey measures violence, harassment, and intimidation during the first seven months of 1997.

In September, 1997, surveys were mailed to the population of 864 abortion providers in the United States. A reminder mailing followed in mid-October, 1997. Follow-up calls were made between mid-October and mid-December. Three hundred and thirty-nine surveys were returned, producing a response rate of 39.2%. Data were analyzed using SPSS-X (Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) uni-variate and bi-variate techniques.

The sample of 339 clinics in the survey includes clinics and doctors' offices in 49 states and the District of Columbia. (See Appendix A for list of number of surveys completed per state.) The percentage of clinic practice devoted to abortion ranges from less than 5% to over 75%. Facilities in the sample are fairly evenly divided among non-profit (34.2% ), for-profit (37.8%) and doctor's offices (27.8%). Clinics were members of the National Abortion Federation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the National Women's Health Organization, and the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, and 28.6% respondents were independent and had no national affiliation.

Our survey found that while 50.7% of respondents provide abortion as more than 75% of their practice, almost all abortion providers (95.3%) also provide a variety of gynecological services. Services available at the clinics include contraception (94.1%); emergency contraception (74.3%); prenatal services (21.8%); cancer screening (67%); HIV testing (57.5%); STD testing and treatment (72.6%); vasectomy (19.5%); tubal sterilization (31.9%); services related to menopause (58.7%); and services related to adoption (15.3%).

Medical, non-invasive methods of early abortion were administered at 60 clinics in 1997. A limited number of clinics participating in clinic trials administered mifepristone, known also as RU 486 or the "French abortion pill." Other clinics began to use the cancer drug methotrexate off-label for early abortion. Both drugs are used orally in combination with the prostaglandin, misoprostol. Of the clinics in the survey, 11 administered mifepristone only, 36 methotrexate only, and 13 both mifepristone and methotrexate.

Clinics responding to the survey were assured that their individual responses would remain confidential. Clinics are identified in this report by name or location only if the incidents and consequences of the violence are a matter of public record or if the Feminist Majority Foundation obtained permission to include the details of the incident in this report.