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1995 Clinic Violence Survey Report

Table of Contents | Methodology | Key Findings | Violence Declines | Levels of Violence | Death Threats, Home Picketing, and Stalking | Decreases in Violence | One in Ten Clinics Lose Staff | One in Five Clinics Reported FACE Violations | Law Enforcement Response Improved | Levels of Violence Correlate with Law Enforcement Response | Legal Protectioins | Conclusions | Appendix A | Appendix B

KEY FINDINGS

Levels of clinic violence in 1995 declined substantially. In 1995, 38.6% of clinics experienced one or more of the most severe forms of clinic violence, including death threats, stalking, bomb threats and bombings, chemical attacks, blockades, invasions, and arson and arson threats. This rate is down significantly from 51.9% of clinics in 1994 and 50.2% in 1993. The proportion of clinics experiencing one or more types of violence grew to 55.8% when home picketing, vandalism, and gunfire also were tabulated. In 1994, 66.7% of clinics experienced at least one of the twelve types of violence.

For the first time, in every category of violence, more clinics in 1995 reported decreases than increases in incidents. The smallest net decreases, however, were in reports of death threats and stalking.

Violence directed at individual physicians and clinic staff members continued at unacceptably high levels. Almost one in five clinics (17.1% ) reported death threats in 1995; one in five (20.3%) reported home picketing; and one in ten (10.6%) said clinic staff had been stalked.

Violence directed at physicians and clinic staff has taken its toll. Clinic staff resignations as a result of anti-abortion violence remained at 1994 levels, with almost one in ten (9%) of clinics having lost clinic staff for this reason. The majority (60.7%) of violence-related staff resignations occurred as a result of the December 30, 1994 murders of clinic workers in Brookline, Massachusetts.

One in five clinics reported violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act to federal law enforcement officials, representing an increase from 16.5% in 1995. The majority (54.8%) of clinics reporting FACE violations were directed by federal authorities to seek assistance from local and state laws and law enforcement officials.

Decreases in clinic violence corresponded with law enforcement response. Local, state, and federal law enforcement officials won higher marks from clinics for their response to anti-abortion violence in the 1995 than in 1994. The greatest improvement in law enforcement response was seen at the local level, where 34.5% of clinics reported enforcement efforts had improved.;

Clinic demands for legal remedies from the courts experienced mixed success. In 1995, 15.2% of clinics sought judicial relief from clinic violence, but less than half (46.8%) actually obtained the legal remedy sought. Over one-third (35.5%) of clinics are now protected by a buffer zone or civil injunction.