A new report says there was a “sharp increase” in violence at abortion clinics in 2022, the year when Roe v. Wade was overturned, ending the federal right to an abortion. A disproportionate increase occurred in states that protect abortion rights, according to the National Abortion Federation, a professional association for abortion providers.
In its annual report on violence, the federation says there were more major incidents at abortion clinics, including arson, burglaries, death threats and invasions last year than in 2021. There were decreases in trespassing and assault and battery, which the federation attributes to clinic closures.
There were four cases of arson in 2022 – in Bakersfield, California, in March; Casper, Wyoming, in May; Kalamazoo, Michigan, in July; and Las Vegas in December – an increase from two in 2021.
The report says there were 218 reports of deaths threats or threats of harm, an increase from 182 in 2021 and 57 in 2018.
In 2022, reports of stalking providers and patients grew to 92 from 28 in 2021, and reported burglaries grew to 43 from 13.
For the first time since 2011, facilities reported receiving suspicious letters containing a white powdery substance.
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The federation says it has tracked violence and disruption at reproductive health facilities since 1977. It collects monthly reports from facilities – 80% reported data for the new report – and follows up to collect complete reports. Some closed clinics weren’t able to report data in 2022 and others reported for only part of the year.
The 2022 report includes data from the US, Canada and Colombia, while 2021 data also includes Mexico City.
The federation says it does not include incidents that can’t be validated, “which suggests that actual incidents are higher than reported.”