The Anti-Abortion Violence in North America

The debate on abortion in America did not start with Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973, however, Supreme Court has been used as a catalyst since then, because the Court provided the justifications to the people who acted upon in their every attack against the abortion clinics.  In terms of scholarship, scant research exists concerning antiabortion violence. Moreover, with many of these studies conducted nearly a decade ago, little if any research addresses present day antiabortion extremism.

In this descriptive research, the objective is to present the basics of pro-choice modus operandi, basically the tactics, techniques and procedures (TTP) used by those anti-abortion extremists. Studying the trends and patterns among such groups can provide invaluable insight in helping to predict their operational strategies.  Therefore, in accordance to our data collection strategy, such anti-abortion violence data was gathered by my student assistant, Gary Stewart, from online open sources like websites, public databases as well as non-governmental institutions. Gary did a fantastic job for this unique data collection during this summer 2013. He looked at many database sources and was very successful to collect 392 incidents that have occurred in North America between 1977 and 2010.

Our research indicated that a big majority of these attacks were committed by lone wolf actors, who have no affiliation to any extremist or illegal organizations such as Army of God. The attacks have damaged the abortion clinics in significant amount of monetary values. Many individuals who work in those clinics have been constantly threatened, harassed and bullied by members of pro-life movement. To respond the increasing aggressive protests at clinics each day, the clinic managements have been installing complicated security systems and hiring security guards for protection. In conclusion, our research proved that the anti-abortion threat is real but on decline compared to past; however, it is not likely to ever stop completely.

The next stage of our research is to update and expand our data with more categorization and coding of violent and non-violent acts. We will be also looking at more complex correlation between many variables of our data such as the correlation between presidential eras and the type and frequency of attacks. We hope to present our findings on a Pace University research presentation platform as well as at the upcoming American Society of Criminology conference in Atlanta, GA. There will be publication coming out of this research as well.

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