Assaults Against Abortion Clinics and Patients Rose 128% in 2021

Assaults directed at abortion clinic staff and patients increased 128% last year over 2020, according to a new report from the National Abortion Federation.

Why it matters: Heated political rhetoric, the passage of more restrictive state abortion bans and increased media coverage all factored in the increase in violence, emboldening those “who want to harass and terrorize abortion providers,” Melissa Fowler, NAF Chief Program Officer, told reporters.

  • Fowler added that the NAF expects a continued escalation of violence and is “on heightened alert.”

By the numbers: Beyond the surge of assaults outside of clinics, NAF documented the following:

  • A 600% increase in stalking.
  • A 63% increase in burglaries.
  • A 54% increase in acts of vandalism (which included multiple incidents of bullets being fired through clinic windows).
  • A 163% increase in hoax devices or suspicious packages at clinics.
  • An 80% increase in bomb threats.
  • A 128% increase in invasions, including instances in which anti-abortion protesters forcefully entered clinics.

NAF found that arson, death threats and trespassing attempts dropped off last year.

  • The organization is bracing for fallout from a forthcoming Supreme Court decision that could decide the fate of Roe v. Wade.