The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Alissa Manzoeillo, National Abortion Federation,

National Abortion Federation Releases 2018 Violence & Disruption Statistics

Escalation in picketing, trespassing, obstruction, vandalism, and online hate speech by anti-abortion individuals


Today, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) released its 2018 statistics on violence and disruption against abortion providers. As anti-abortion politicians continue to test the U.S. Supreme Court by passing unconstitutional anti-abortion laws and executive rules, those who oppose abortion are testing their local law enforcement. While NAF recorded a decrease in stalking, burglary, and assault and battery in 2018, NAF members reported an alarming escalation in incidences of obstruction, vandalism, and trespassing.

"Anti-choice individuals and groups have been emboldened by the rhetoric of President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other elected officials and we are seeing this play out in more instances of activities meant to intimidate abortion providers and disrupt patient services," said The Very Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, Interim President and CEO of NAF. "Demonizing health care providers and women who rely on them for abortion care has become one of the go-to tactics for anti-choice politicians. Those lies have consequences and it is not the anti-choice politicians who are facing those consequences; it is those who are denied abortion care and the providers targeted by threats, harassment, and violence who are. It is time for the demonizing of abortion providers and their patients to end."

"Given the political climate and the increase in hate incidents throughout the country, it is more important than ever that law enforcement and prosecutors appropriately respond to anti-abortion criminal activity."

NAF has been compiling statistics on incidents of violence and disruption against abortion providers for 40 years. Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 188 arsons, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at abortion providers.

Notable statistics from 2018:

  • NAF identified more than 1,135 incidents of trespassing--the most since NAF's tabulation of trespassing first began in 1999 and beating the previous record set in 2017 with 823.
  • Incidents of obstruction of health care facilities nearly doubled from 1,704 in 2017 to 3,038 in 2018, the highest number since NAF began tracking it in its own category in 2012.
  • The reported number of picketing incidents continued to increase in 2018, with 99,409 incidents reported--which far exceeds any other year since we began tracking these statistics in 1977 and beating the previous record set in 2017.

The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers.Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women's health centers, physicians' offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia.