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1997 Clinic Violence Survey Report



During the first seven months of 1997, clinics reported an increase in the number of staff resignations due to anti-abortion violence compared to the previous year. In prior years, clinics had reported a steady decline in staff departures. Chart 6 plots changes in reports of clinic staff resignations related to anti-abortion violence. In 1993, one-fourth of clinics experienced resignations. By 1996, staff quits dropped to a low of 3.8%. However, in 1997, 7.1% of clinics reported resignations as a result of clinic violence, an increase of 3.3 points.

Chart 6

Of the 24 clinics reporting staff resignations as a result of clinic violence in 1997, 4.2% lost a physician (1), 33.3% lost nurses (8), 50% lost administrators (12), 33.3% lost counselors (8), and 20.8% lost lab technicians (5).

The 1997 survey found that the loss of employees in the face of clinic violence corresponded with the quality of law enforcement response. Clinics which rated law enforcement response as "poor" were more likely to experience staff resignations due to anti-abortion violence. Conversely, clinics which reported "excellent" law enforcement response were less likely to report staff quits. This relationship was statistically significant for law enforcement response at the local and state levels.

Of clinics reporting "poor" local law enforcement response to clinic violence, 14.3% had staff quit because of the violence. Of clinics describing local law enforcement response as "good," 13.5% reported staff resignations. Only 7.5% of clinics which characterized local law enforcement response as "excellent" lost staff.

Over one-third (35.7%) of the clinics reporting "poor" state law enforcement response said they had staff quit because of clinic violence. In comparison, only 7.3% of those describing state law enforcement response as "good" and 7.1% which said state law enforcement response was "excellent," reported violence-related staff quits.