Abortion clinic

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An abortion clinic is a medical facility that specializes in performing abortions. Such clinics may be public medical centers or private medical practices.



United States[edit]

  • There were 1,793 abortion providers in the United States in 2008.[2]
  • 381 of the 1,787 providers in the U.S. in 2005 were clinics at which the majority of patient visits were for abortions.[3]
  • Every state (and the District of Columbia) had at least one provider in 2008.[2]
  • The states with the most providers were California (522) and New York (249) in 2008.[2]
  • The states with the fewest providers were North Dakota (one) and South Dakota (two) in 2008.[2]
  • 13% of all counties in the United States had a provider in 2008.[2]
  • 31% of metropolitan counties and 3% of non-metropolitan counties had a provider in 2005.[3]
Operation Save America members protest in front of an abortion clinic in Jackson, Mississippi, during their 2006 National Event in that city.

Anti-abortion protests[edit]

Abortion clinics have frequently been the site of protests by anti-abortion activists. Protesters often engage in what is known as "sidewalk counseling", in which they warn people entering the clinic about alleged risks of abortion or show pictures of fetuses.[4] In 1985, 85% of abortion providers were experiencing either picketing, clinic blockades or invasion of the facility,[5] with 19% or providers receiving bomb threats and 16% were picketed at their homes .[6] In 2000 82% of facilities received protests with 61% receiving 20 or more pickets. [7]

The 2007 film Juno contains an example of such protest. The protagonist enters a clinic with the purpose of procuring an abortion, but sees a fellow student protesting outside the clinic who tells her that the fetus "has fingernails".[8] This causes Juno to change her mind about having an abortion, and she leaves the clinic, with her friend calling out to her, "God appreciates your miracle."[9]

In some countries, a buffer zone is enforced to prevent protesters from standing within a certain distance of the clinic entrance.[10]

Anti-abortion violence[edit]

Abortion clinics have frequently been subject to anti-abortion violence. The New York Times cites over one hundred clinic bombings and incidents of arson, over three hundred invasions, and over four hundred incidents of vandalism between 1978 and 1993,[11] and the National Abortion Federation, an organization of abortion providers, cites over 300 attempted or completed instances of bombing or arson, thousands of invasions and vandalism incidents, as well as other attacks, between 1977 and 2009.[12] According to the NAF, the first instance of arson at an abortion clinic took place in March 1976 in Oregon, and the first bombing was in Ohio in February 1978.[13] Some notable incidents are:

  • In 1993, Dr. David Gunn, one of a number of doctors murdered by opponents of abortion rights, was shot and killed outside as he arrived at his clinic.
  • In 1993, Dr. George Tiller was shot in both arms by Shelley Shannon outside his clinic. Tiller would later be murdered in church by another opponent of abortion rights.
  • In 1994, Dr. John Britton, another doctor, and James Barrett, his escort, were shot and killed by Paul Jennings Hill as they arrived at a clinic. Barrett's wife June was also wounded.
  • In 1994, John Salvi shot and killed two abortion clinic receptionists, Shannon Lowney and Lee Ann Nichols, and wounded five other people.[14]
  • In 1998, a remote-controlled pipe bomb that Eric Robert Rudolph set outside a clinic killed security guard Robert Sanderson and maimed nurse Emily Lyons.
  • In 2001, Peter James Knight shot and killed a security guard, Steven Rogers, at the abortion clinic where Rogers worked.
  • In 2015, a shooting incident occurred at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado which resulted in three fatalities, including a police officer, and in multiple injuries to other clinic workers and patients.

In the United States, the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act was passed in 1994 in response to acts of violence at clinics, which prohibits the use of force or obstruction to interfere with a person's attempt to obtain or provide reproductive health services, and the intentional damage of a reproductive health care facility such as an abortion clinic.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Eggertson L (March 2001). "Abortion services in Canada: a patchwork quilt with many holes". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 164 (6): 847–9. PMC 80888free to read. PMID 11276554. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Jones RK, Kooistra K (March 2011). "Abortion Incidence and Access to Services In the United States, 2008" (PDF). Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 43 (1): 41–50. doi:10.1363/4304111. PMID 21388504. 
  3. ^ a b Jones RK, Zolna MR, Henshaw SK, Finer LB (March 2008). "Abortion in the United States: incidence and access to services, 2005" (PDF). Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health. 40 (1): 6–16. doi:10.1363/4000608. PMID 18318867. 
  4. ^ Julie Bosman, "Anti-Abortion Activists Worry That a New City Law Will Make Their Task Harder", The New York Times, 5 June 2009
  5. ^ Alesha E. Doan (2007). Opposition and Intimidation:The abortion wars and strategies of political harassment. University of Michigan. p. 23. 
  6. ^ Doan 2007, p. 106.
  7. ^ Doan 2007, p. 115.
  8. ^ Freeman, Hadley (20 January 2012). "Diablo Cody: devil's advocate". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  9. ^ Clarke, Cath (23 November 2007). "Just don't say the A-word". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  10. ^ Access to Abortion Services Act. Retrieved December 19, 2012.
  11. ^ "The Death of Dr. Gunn". The New York Times. March 12, 1993. 
  12. ^ National Abortion Federation (2009), "Incidence of Violence & Disruption Against Abortion Providers in the U.S. & Canada"
  13. ^ National Abortion Federation. (2007). "Arsons and Bombings Archived September 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.."
  14. ^ Daly, Christopher B. (March 19, 1996). "Salvi Convicted of Murder in Shootings". Washington Post. 

Further reading[edit]