There's been an uptick in violence against abortion providers since the start of COVID
Anti-choicers haven't slowed down just because there's a pandemic - in fact, they've been more active than ever.
Anti-choicers haven't slowed down just because there's a pandemic - in fact, they've been more active than ever. In September 2020, Care Net, a network of fake clinics, held a convention in Florida while COVID rates in the state soared. In New York state, where there are more fake clinics than actual reproductive health clinics, fake clinics continued to operate as usual, with only 7% providing any information about COVID to those seeking their services. We know that anti-choice protesters were among those who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021, and 2021 was the worst year for abortion rights in almost fifty years.
And, unfortunately, there's more.
On December 16, 2021, the National Abortion Federation released statistics on violence and disruptions against abortion providers in 2020. This is the entire report, and here are a few of the most disturbing findings:
- In 2019, there were 24 incidents of assault and battery outside clinics. In 2020, there were 54 incidents - a 125% increase.
- Threats of harm and death against providers increased from 92 in 2019 to 200 in 2020.
- Hate mail and internet harassment and phone calls increased from 3,123 in 2019 to 3,413 in 2020.
- Incidents of vandalism also increased from 70 in 2019 to 80 in 2020.
- In November 2020, while COVID cases were surging, anti-choicers marched in Charlotte, North Carolina, with no social distancing and with few participants wearing masks.
- While the amount of picketing events outside abortion clinics decreased slightly (from 123,228 in 2019 to 115,517 in 2020), the activities that did occur outside clinics were more violent and aggressive, including incidents in which unmasked protesters sneezed and coughed on patients and surrounded their cars, while defying stay-at-home orders and restrictions on gatherings.
You might not be surprised that anti-choicers seem to be emboldened by COVID, rather than deterred by it, and with the passage of SB8 in Texas, as well as a case before the Supreme Court that could result in the end of Roe v. Wade, it might seem like the best alternative would be to self-manage your own abortion and stop seeking clinic access altogether. But abortion pills aren't for everyone, they don't guarantee access to abortion, and we can't and won't abandon clinics and those seeking abortions and other reproductive health services to anti-choice forces. Everyone deserves to be able to get the abortion they want, regardless of where they live, how much money they have, and who they are.