The State of Violence Against Abortion Providers

It may no longer be in the headlines and the trend may be moving downward, but attacks against abortion providers and clinics continue. A new study suggests that laws don’t seem to affect the incidence of violence.(Via EurekaAlert.)

During a wave of anti-abortion violence in the early 1990s, several states enacted legislation protecting abortion clinics, staff and patients. Some experts predicted that these laws would provide a deterrent effect, resulting in fewer anti-abortion crimes. Others predicted a backlash from radical members of the anti-abortion movement, leading to more crimes in states with protective legislation.

“We tested these competing hypotheses and found no support for either one,” Pridemore [associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Indiana University Bloomington and co-author of a new study] said. “In other words, states with laws protecting abortion clinics and reproductive rights are no more or less likely than other states to have higher or lower levels of victimization against abortion clinics, staff or patients.”

He pointed out that there are still valid reasons to have such laws. “For example, state laws protecting abortion clinics and reproductive rights provide constitutional support for a woman’s right to choose and retributive justice for those who employ violence or intimidation to discourage the exercise of this right,” he said.