Antiabortion violence in the United States

Contraception. 2012 Nov;86(5):562-6. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.02.011. Epub 2012 Mar 28.


Background: This study was conducted to determine if an association exists between the amount of harassment and violence directed against abortion providers and the restrictiveness of state laws relating to family planning.

Study design: We used responses from a July 2010 survey of 357 abortion providers in 50 states to determine their experience of antiabortion harassment and violence. Their responses were grouped and analyzed in relation to a published grading of state laws in the United States (A, B, C, D and F) as they relate to restrictions on family planning services.

Results: Group by group comparison of respondents illustrates that the difference in the number of reported incidents of minor vandalism by group is statistically significant (A vs. C, p=.07; A vs. D, p=.017; A vs. F, p=.0002). Incidents of harassment follow a similar pattern. There were no differences noted overall for violence or major vandalism. Major violence, including eight murders, is a new occurrence in the last two decades.

Conclusions: Harassment of abortion providers in the United States has an association with the restrictiveness of state abortion laws. In the last two decades, murder of abortion providers has become an unfortunate part of the violence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities*
  • Family Planning Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Female
  • Homicide
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Social Behavior
  • United States
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*