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.

Anti-Abortion Violence in North America

The research we set out to perform on violence as it relates to anti-abortion has been made substantial progress to this point. The current data shows that over the years a substantial amount of violence has been perpetrated both against individuals who perform abortions or clinics/medical facilities, where abortion takes place. Main motive behind the attacks appears to be on ethical and religious grounds.

There a few major questions raised as the research progressed on whether there was any correlation between the frequency and type of attacks and the political party that was in power when these events took place as well as particular time, day and seasonality of the attacks. To this end we decided to calculate, based on the results, the percentage of incidents that took place based on this criterion.

One major challenge was to garner the amount of damage caused when a building was attacked. Another was to find the approximate time the incidents took place. We were very successful in finding the names of the buildings attacked and the seasons in which these attacks took place.

Through this project I have become more familiar with the challenges faced by pro-choice movement.

This project has allowed us to realize that our results can be published in a journal article; however, we will be adding more data into our analysis for more accurate results. To this end more research will be done and more variables will be added.

Antiabortion Violence: 40 Years after Roe v. Wade

Please describe the title and purpose of your project as well as the goals and objectives of your research:

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.  The following contributory questions concerning the attacks against the abortion clinics gave rise to this research:

  • Where do most of the attacks occur in the United States and Canada?
  • During which months, on which days and at which times do these attack take place?
  • Are the attacks against abortion clinics committed by any extremist groups or lone wolves (individuals with no connections to organizations or groups)?
  • What is the estimated damage? What type of extremist tactic does cause the most damages to the abortion clinics or medical facilities?

In answering these questions a better understanding of the violence perpetrated by anti-abortion extremists will be gained.


Highlight what you expect to achieve or learn from this project:

The research will produce a publication, (a possible journal article) along with a certain presentation at the upcoming ASC (American Society of Criminology) conference in Atlanta, GA in Fall 2013.

In addition, this research will help me to develop a better understanding of the methods used garner information of a sensitive nature. In particular, I will learn more about the violence against anti-abortion and gain an understanding of what it will take to change the mindset of persons involved in this violence.


Explain what methods you will use to answer your research questions:

For this research we intend to collect data using the electronic databases available at PACE library, specifically LexisNexis. This data will range from 1973 to 2013. Presently the data for 1973 to 2007 has been collected; therefore, we will update it from 2008 to 2013 along with looking at new categories of variables for the analyses.