By: Lynda Bustilloz
Re: Prolife violence poll
Feminist Majority Foundation
1994 Clinic Violence Survey Report
For the second year, the Feminist Majority
Foundation concluded a nationwide survey of anti-abortion violence
in the United States.
The survey collected data on acts of violence targeted at clinics
and health care workers during the first seven months of 1994
and following the July 1994 murders of Dr. John Bayard Britton
and his escort, James Barrett, in Pensacola, Florida. In September
of 1994, surveys were mailed to 819 clinics. Follow-up calls
were made to these clinics and, in some cases, survey responses
were obtained via phone interviews. Between September 15 and
November 30, surveys were completed and returned by 314 clinics
for a response rate of 38.3%. Data was analyzed using SPSS-X
(Statistical Package for the Social Sciences) uni-variate
and bi-variate statistical techniques.
This survey represents one of the most comprehensive studies ever
conducted on anti-abortion violence directed at clinics, patients,
and health care workers. The 1993 clinic violence survey included
281 clinics out of 966 for a response rate of 29.1%.
The 1994 sample of 314 clinics included facilities in 46 states,
the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. (See Appendix B for
a state-by-state breakdown of clinics that responded.) The
of clinic practice devoted to abortion ranged from under 5% to
over 75%. The survey results show 42.4% of the clinics were
for-profit institutions, 33.4% were non-profit clinics, and 23.9%
were private practices. Almost all of these clinics provided a wide
range of gynecological and other health care services in addition to
Clinics responding to the survey were assured that their individual
responses would remain confidential. Clinics are identified by
name or state only if the incidents and consequences of the violence
are a matter of public record or if the Feminist Majority Foundation
was given permission to include the details of the incident in
Clinic Violence Survey
One in Ten Clinics Lost Staff: But Staff Losses Less Than 1993
In comparison with 1993 survey data, fewer clinic staff members
quit during the first seven months of 1994 as a result of violence
Clinics in 1994 experienced the resignation of physicians, nurses,
and administrative personnel. In one-quarter of these clinics,
the staff member who resigned was a physician, 42% of those who
resigned were nurses and 32% were administrators or staff
assistants. Some clinics experienced multiple resignations as in
the case of one clinic which, since January 1994, had to replace a
physician, a nurse and two administrative assistants.
Other Health Services Disrupted at Clinics: 92.4% of Clinics
Provide Services In Addition to Abortion
Anti-abortion violence not only has limited access to abortion,
but also has prevented patients, particularly low-income women
and their families, from receiving a wide range of other important
health care services. Of the clinics that responded to the
survey, almost all (94.9%) reported that they provided services
in addition to abortion.
Most clinics (92.4%) provided birth control. Other services included
cancer screening, provided by 69.7% (219) clinics; menopause
counseling and treatment, provided by 50.3% (158) clinics; PMS
counseling and treatment, provided by 49.7% (156) clinics; tubal
ligation, provided by 35.7% (112) clinics; infertility counseling
treatment, provided by 27.1% (85) clinics; pre-natal care, provided
by 26.1% (82) clinics; adoption and related services, provided by
23.9% (75) clinics; and vasectomies, provided by 16.2% (5 1) clinics.
Many clinics reported providing a range of additional services
such as testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases,
HIV testing, drug screening, marriage physicals, vaccinations,
yearly gynecological exams, donor insemination, pregnancy testing
and informational services such as workshops, seminars and forums
on issues relating to women's health. Clearly, the great majority
of women's clinics provide an important range of critical health
Death Threats Rise Since July 1994 Pensacola Murders
"...we will see the beginning of massive killing of abortionists
and their staffs."
--David C. Trosch,"Justifiable Homicide" Letter addressed
to the U.S. Congress, July 16, 1994.
One grim statistic not covered by the survey is the number of
killings and clinic personnel shootings since 1991. In 1991 two
clinic workers were shot at a Springfield, Missouri clinic. One
worker was paralyzed from the waist down, the other was wounded
in the stomach. In 1993, Dr. David Gunn was killed outside a
clinic in Pensacola, Florida, Dr. George Tiller was shot outside
of his clinic in Wichita, Kansas, and Dr. Wayne Patterson was
killed in Mobile, Alabama. This year, Dr. John Bayard Britton
and his escort James Barrett were killed in Pensacola. June Barrett,
James Barrett's spouse, survived gunshot wounds. The tactic of
shooting doctors has spread to neighboring countries. In November,
Dr. Garson Romalis was shot while eating breakfast in his home
in Vancouver, Canada.
Furthermore, the shooting spree which resulted in the death of
Dr. Britton and Barrett was not a random event. Murdering doctors
has become an accepted tactic by some extremists in the anti-abortion
movement. Last year a declaration signed by over 30 anti-abortion
extremists outlined their position of "Justifiable Homicide"
against practitioners of abortion. Britton and Barrett were murdered
by petition author, Paul Hill, who attempted to use the justifiable
homicide defense in court during his murder trial.
The death of James Barrett and the attempted murder of June Barrett
shows that even those who provide protection for doctors are also
at risk. In an open letter to the United States Congress, David
Trosch, a Catholic priest and strong advocate of justifiable
warned that those persons connected with abortion-providing doctors
are also at risk of becoming targets for anti-abortion extremist
The murders of Britton and Barrett appear to have escalated death
threats against clinic personnel. The survey measured increases
in types of violence following the July 29th Pensacola murders.
Since July, 16.6 % (52) clinics reported an increase in death
threats. This statistic is especially striking when placed in
the context of other types of violence. Only 5.4% (17) of the
clinics reported an increase in stalking; 2.9% (9) reported an
increase in bomb threats, 2.9% (9) reported an increase in blockades,
2.2% (7) reported an increase in bombings, 1.9% (6) reported an
increase in arson threats, 1.6% (5) reported an increase in clinic
invasions, 1.3% (4) reported an increase in arson, and .3% (1)
reported an increase in chemical attacks.
In addition to the rise in death threats after the July murders,
another alarming pattern emerged. Our data analysis found a
statistically significant correlation between violence and clinic
status since the murders of Britton and Barrett. Clinics were asked
to assess anti-abortion violence following the July 29th murders.
From July 29 through the Fall of 1994, the survey found that
non-profit clinics -- which often are more economically vulnerable --
were targeted by anti-abortion violence. Some of the
most threatening acts of violence were perpetrated against staff
and buildings at non-profit clinics: 40.4% of clinics that reported
death threats, 52.9% of clinics that reported stalking and 71.4%
of clinics that reported bombin2s were nonprofits. (See Chart
1). Chemical attacks, blockades and invasions, however, appear
to be more prevalent at for-profit clinics and private doctor's
Some clinics that experienced little anti-abortion violence in
1993 or early in 1994 suddenly found themselves besieged by
violence and threats after the July murders. In Vermont, for
example, one bombing was the only form of violence during the
first seven months of 1994 reported by the seven clinics
participating in the survey. But since the murders, four Vermont
clinics recorded increases in bombings, bomb threats, and arson
Furthermore, anti-abortion violence since July was not limited
to clinics and doctors who provided abortions. Although not included
in the final results of the survey, some non-abortion providing
clinics reported incidents of anti-abortion violence. Clinics
in Falls Church, VA; Brainerd, MN; Cloquet, MN; Sydney, OH; and
St. Albans, VT, and Rapids City, SD were fire bombed after July
29, 1994. Only one arrest has been made (in the Vermont incident),
and no FACE charges have been filed. With the exception of the
Virginia facility all of the clinics provided family planning,
and none provided abortions. As in the past, anti-abortionists
are not limiting acts of terrorism to abortion-providers.
Clinic Violence Survey: Death Threats
Death Threats Most Frequently Reported Type of Violence
Death threats were the most frequently reported type of violence
in 1994. Almost one-quarter (24.8%) of clinics reported that
staff members had been subjected to death threats during the first
seven months of 1994.
Home picketing and stalking followed death threats as the types
of violence most often experienced by clinic staff. Twenty-two
percent (69) of clinics reported that their staff members were
picketed at home and 17.8% (56) reported stalking.
Clinics sustained many other forms of violence at the clinic
sites: 12.1% (38) of all clinics reported being subjected
to blockades; 10.5% (33) were invaded; 13.1 % (41) received bomb
threats; 3.8% (12) were bombed; 3.8% (12) received arson threats;
2.5% (8) sustained losses due to arson; 3.2% (10) were chemically
attacked; and 1.9% (6) were the targets of gunfire. .
Vandalism also plagued clinics during the first seven months
of 1994. Of the clinics surveyed, 34.8% reported acts of vandalism
directed at their clinics. Vandalism included glue put in
the locks of clinic doors, nails placed in clinic driveways and
parking lots, paint on walls, broken windows and other incidents
intended to destroy or deface clinic property or to interfere
with the provision of services at the clinic. Additional acts
of vandalism included tearing down and defacing signs and other
clinic property, spilling water on walkways in order to freeze
them during winter months, spreading tar in clinic parking lots,
and scratching or "keying" staff cars.
Death Threats Increase Since 1994:
Blockades, Invasions, Home Picketing and Chemical Attacks
Our survey found that during the first seven months of 1994
anti-abortion extremists have reduced blockades, invasions, home
ticketing, and chemical attacks in favor of more violent strategies
in comparison to the similar time period in 1993. The most
personally threatening form of violence directed at clinic staff
-- death threats -- increased significantly in 1994. At 14% (44)
staff reported an increase in death threats compared
with the first seven months of 1993. Only 4.8% (15) clinics felt
that death threats had decreased. Almost half of the clinics
(46.2%) reported that the level of death threats had remained
the same. Death threats were the only type of violence for which
clinics reported a greater increase than decrease.
Blockades were the strategy which the highest number of clinics
reported had decreased between the first seven months of 1993
and the first seven months of 1994. Twenty-three percent of clinics
(73) experienced a decline in clinic blockades. This decrease
in the use of clinic blockades can, in part, be attributed to
the increasing effectiveness of abortion rights strategies
to prevent blockades. Only 4.5% (14) of the clinics surveyed
reported an increase in clinic blockades; many other clinics 49.4%
(155) reported that the level of clinic blockades remained the
same since 1993.
Of the clinics surveyed, 9.2% (29) reported a decrease in stalking,
46.5% of clinics said that the amount of stalking had remained
the same, and 8.9% (28) reported that stalking had increased since
1993. Home picketing, another form of violence directed at staff
members, was reported by 11.8% (24) of the clinics as having
decreased. Almost half of the clinics, 47.5% (149) reported that
home picketing stayed the same and 7.6% (24) reported an increase.
Violence directed at clinic buildings and property also experienced
net decreases during the first seven months of 1994. Since 1993,
11.5% (36) of clinics reported a decrease in bombings, while 5.7%
(18) clinics reported an increase in bombings. An even 50% reported
that the level of bombings remained the same. Of the clinics,
6.7% (21) reported a decrease and 4.1% (13) clinics reported an
increase in arson attacks; 49.7% (156) of the clinics reported
that the level of arson attacks remained the same.
Since 1993, clinics reported decreases in invasions, chemical
attacks and gunfire. According to the survey results, 10.2% (32)
reported a decrease in invasions, while 50% (157) said that invasions
stayed the same and 2.9% (9) clinics reported an increase in
Decreases in chemical attacks since 1993
were reported by 12.1 % of clinics, with 1.9% (6) clinics reporting
increases and 48.1% (151) of clinic saying the level of chemical
attacks had stayed the same. Incidents of gun fire decreased
at 3.8% (12) clinics and rose at 1.3% (4) clinic. Slightly over
half (51%) of clinics surveyed reported that in 1994 the level
of gunfire incidents had stayed the same.
Clinic Violence Survey: Conclusion
In 1994, death threats against health care workers providing
abortion services reached an all-time high. Death threats were the
most frequently reported type of violence, the form of violence that
most increased since last year's survey, and the type of violence
that increased the most seriously after the July 1994 murders
of Dr. Britton and James Barrett in Pensacola, Florida. Other
forms of violence experienced some decrease in 1994. But overall
clinic violence continued unabated: over half of clinics in the
survey reported one or more forms of violence.
Unless law enforcement officials at local, state, and federal
levels improve efforts to prosecute the perpetrators of this
anti-abortion extremists will continue to terrorize clinic staffs.
Clinic services, which include a wide range of gynecological and
other treatments in addition to abortion, will continue to be
The survey findings illustrate that law enforcement response is
correlated with the commission of certain acts of clinic violence.
In other words, poor law enforcement response creates a climate
in which anti-abortion violence flourishes. Conversely, effective
law enforcement response prevents the escalation of violence at
Law enforcement now has the tools to end the reign of terror at
clinics. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act was uniquely
crafted to provide federal law enforcement officials with the
jurisdiction and penalties to combat the most threatening type
of violence that clinics in this survey report: death threats.
Moreover, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding the use
of RICO to prosecute concerted efforts to close clinics and upholding
clinic buffer zones provide clinics and law enforcement officials
at all levels strong tools to stem clinic violence. Vigorous
investigation and prosecution of FACE and other local, state,
and federal legal mechanisms is necessary to protect the lives
of health care workers and women's health care services.
Clinics Responding to Survey State-By-State
New Hampshire 3
New Jersey 6
New Mexico 3
New York 19
North Carolina 14
North Dakota 1
Rhode Island 1
South Carolina 2
South Dakota 1
West Virginia 1
Puerto Rico 1
For 12 States Experiencing Highest Levels of Anti-abortion Violence
Eleven out of 35 clinics in California reported violent incidents
during 1994. Seven clinics reported that their staffs were stalked
during the first seven months of 1994. Also during the first
seven months of 1994 were reports of home picketing and death
threats by four clinics. Three clinics reported blockades and
invasions and two clinics reported chemical attacks. Since 1993,
five clinics reported an increase in death threats, and five clinics
reported an increase in stalking. Two clinics reported an increase
in chemical attacks since 1993, and two clinics reported an increase
in invasions. One clinic each reported an increase in clinic
blockades, clinic invasions, gunfire, and arson. Since the July
murders 10 clinics reported a rise in death threats, stalking
increased at five clinics, and clinic blockades increased at two
clinics. FACE complaints were lodged by 11 clinics.
Twelve clinics from Florida participated in the survey. During
the first seven months of 1994 four clinics reported home picketing
and three reported stalking. One clinic was chemically attacked.
One clinic each reported death threats, blockades, invasions,
and gunfire. Since 1993, three clinics reported an increase in
stalking and death threats. Blockades, bombings, and gunfire
rose at two clinics and home picketing, invasions, and chemical
attacks were reported as rising by one clinic per category. Since
the July murders, death threats rose at two clinics and one clinic
each reported a rise in stalking and bomb threats. FACE complaints
were lodged by three clinics.
Nine clinics in Illinois reported anti-abortion violence. During
the first seven months of 1994, two clinics reported receiving
death threats. Clinic staff at one clinic reported clinic blockades,
and staff at another clinic were stalked during the same time
period. Two clinics reported an increase since 1993 in bombings,
and one clinic each reported an increase in death threats, stalking,
clinic blockades, gunfire, and arson. Since the July murders
two clinics reported an increase in death threats, and staff at
four other clinics reported either being stalked, receiving death
threats, receiving arson threats, or surviving an arson attack.
None of these Illinois clinics filed a FACE complaint.
Six clinics in Indiana responded to the survey. During the first
seven months of 1994, three clinics reported stalking and home
picketing, two reported death threats, and one reported being
attacked by gunfire. Since 1993, two clinics reported an increase
in stalking; two clinics reported an increase in death threats;
and one clinic reported an increase in gunfire. Since the July
murders two clinics reported a rise in death threats, and one
clinic each reported an increase in stalking and clinic blockades.
FACE complaints were filed by one clinic.
Of the twelve clinics that responded to the survey in Michigan,
three were blockaded; staff from two were stalked, another two
had staff that were picketed at home, one clinic was invaded;
and another reported receiving death threats. Since 1993, one
clinic reported an increase in blockades, another reported an
increase in stalking, and a third reported an increase in gunfire
attacks. Since the July murders one clinic each reported an increase
in chemical attacks, stalking, invasions, and death threats.
Two clinics filed FACE complaints.
Only two clinics from Missouri responded to the survey. These
clinics, however, have experienced a range of anti-abortion violence
including blockades, invasions, chemical attacks, home picketing,
stalking and death threats, all in the first seven months of 1994.
Furthermore, the clinics reported a rise in chemical attacks
and bombings since 1993. They also reported a rise in invasions
and death threats since the Pensacola murders in July.
Nineteen clinics in New York completed the survey. Within the
first seven months of 1994, five clinics reported home picketing,
four reported clinic invasions, three reported death threats,
two reported chemical attacks, two reported stalking, and one
reported gunfire attacks. Since 1993, four clinics reported an
increase in bombings, and one clinic each cited an increase in
chemical attacks, stalking, invasions, and home picketing. Since
the July slayings, death threats increased at three clinics and
bomb threats at one clinic. Only one clinic reported a potential
Of the fourteen clinics that responded to the survey in North
Carolina, four reported receiving death threats, three reported
clinic invasions, and one each reported being targeted by blockades,
home picketing, and stalking. Since 1993 two clinics reported
a rise in death threats, two clinics reported an increase in stalking
and one clinic reported an increase in home picketing. Three
clinics reported an increase in death threats since the Pensacola
slayings. Two clinics reported an increase in stalking and bomb
threats, and one clinic each reported an increase in arson threats
and invasions. FACE complaints were filed by one clinic, to which
law enforcement officials responded.
In Pennsylvania three of the ten clinics that responded to the
survey reported clinic blockades during the first seven months
in 1994. One clinic was invaded, one clinic reported home picketing,
one reported death threats, and one reported gunfire attacks.
Since 1993, three clinics reported an increase in bombings, and
one clinic each reported an increase in blockades, stalking, gunfire,
invasions, and death threats. Since July, one clinic reported
an increase in death threats and one clinic reported an increase
in bomb threats. Only one FACE complaint was filed.
In Texas, five of the sixteen clinics in the survey reported death
threats to staff during the first seven months of 1994. Four
clinics experienced invasions, staff from four clinics experienced
home picketing, two clinics reported blockades. One clinic was
chemically attacked, a second was fired upon, and staff from a
third clinic reported being stalked. Since 1993, clinics in Texas
reported that blockades, chemical attacks, stalking, gunfire,
invasions, death threats and home picketing rose. Since the July
murders one clinic reported a rise in death threats. Two clinics
filed FACE complaints.
Of the seven clinics in Virginia who responded to the survey,
four have staff who experienced home picketing, three have staff
who were stalked, four clinics received death threats and one
was blockaded. Two clinics reported a rise in death threats since
1993, and one clinic in each category of bombings, arson and home
picketing reported an increase. Since July, the rate of death
threats increased for two clinics and one clinic each reported
a rise in bombings and arson attacks. Only one clinic reported
a FACE violation to federal authorities.
Six clinics from Wisconsin responded to the survey. Of these,
five had staffs who experienced home picketing, three clinics
had staff who were stalked, three clinics received death threats,
three were blockaded and one was chemically attacked. Two clinics
reported a rise in death threats since 1993, and two clinics reported
a rise in home picketing. One clinic reported a rise in stalking.
Since the July slayings two clinics reported an increase in death
threats. A FACE complaint filed in Wisconsin resulted in the
conviction of clinic blockaders.