In the year and a half that President Donald Trump has been in office, he has repeatedly fought reproductive rights, whether by speaking at the annual March for Life in Washington D.C. and even signing an executive order allowing states to defund Planned Parenthood. And the government’s hostility toward reproductive rights has also had broader effects in the community. A recent report from the National Abortion Federation reveals that, during Trump’s first year in office, violent and disruptive tactics against abortion clinics have dramatically increased.
The NAF’s 2017 Violence and Disruption Statistics were released yesterday, May 7th. The annual report, which measures anti-abortion activity targeting clinics, revealed that since 2016, abortion clinic trespassing had more than tripled, from 247 instances in 2016 to 823 in 2017. Reports of protesters obstructing clinic entrances also tripled from 580 to more than 1,700. And in 2017, there were 62 death threats or threats of violence targeting clinics — nearly twice the number that occurred in 2016. Additionally, as the report noted, in November 2017, there was even an attempted bombing at an Illinois clinic.
NAF President Vicki Saporta told Reuters that she felt the political climate had an impact on these anti-abortion activities.
“When you have politicians who espouse very anti-choice rhetoric, you have anti-abortion extremists who take it to heart and act upon it,” she told the news organization. “They have a friend in the White House.”
The NAF’s annual violence and disruption statistics are compiled from monthly reports filed by the federation’s members — most of the country’s abortion clinics.
As Saporta noted, in the past few years, anti-abortion rhetoric has become commonplace in government. Along with the Trump administration’s challenges to reproductive rights, states have continued their pursuit of stricter abortion laws. In early May, for instance, Iowa passed the nation’s most extreme abortion law, making most abortions after six weeks illegal.
The increase in these anti-abortion tactics in just one year is terrifying. All women deserve to make their own choices about their bodies, and it’s clear that the current government is working to impede this. Now more than ever, we need to stand up for our reproductive rights.