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1993 Clinic Violence Suvey Report

HOW CLINICS ARE AFFECTED

Clinics and Health Care Workers Face Multiple Incidents of Violence

Many clinics and clinic staff who responded to the survey experienced multiple forms of violence. One in four clinics (26.7%) faced two or more types of violence. Of the clinics responding to the survey, 13.2% experienced two types of violence. 8.9% of clinics contended with three types of violence. 4.6% of clinics have confronted four or more types of violence.

Violent activities directed at clinics and health care workers often occurred in combination. The use of multiple strategies of violence and intimidation by anti-abortion extremsts made threats on the lives of clinic personnel appear even more viable. Of the clinics that reported death threats, 37.3% received bomb threats, 32.2% also experienced stalking, 33.9% faced blockades, 27.1% experienced invasions, and 25.4% had chemical attacks.

Graph 2

Clinics Lose Staff in Climate of Fear

This ongoing violence and harassment have taken their toll on both clinic staff and clinic patients. Clinics have lost employees as a result of this violence. At 64 clinics -- almost one- fourth of the clinics in the survey -- a staff member had quit as a result of anti-abortion incidents. In one-third (34.4%) of these clinics, the staff member who resigned was a physician.

One-half (50%) of the clinics from which a staff member quit reported having difficulties in locating a replacement. Those clinics experiencing multiple types of violence had the greatest difficulty in finding replacements for staff members who quit.

93.6% of Clinics Provide Other Health Services That Also Are Threatened

Anti-abortion violence not only has curbed access to abortion, but also has prevented patients, particularly low-income women and their families, from receiving a wide range of health care services.

Of the clinics surveyed, 93.6% offered other services in addition to abortion. These services included birth control (91.8%), menopausal treatment (40.2%), PMS treatment (38.1%), tubal legations (33.1%), prenatal care (24.6%), infertility (24.2%), adoption (23.5%), and vasectomies (16.4%). Most clinics also provide cancer screening.

 

Graph 3

 

Poor women who depend on these clinics for their health care needs have been the primary casualties of anti-abortion violence. The Blue Mountain Clinic in Montana, which was destroyed by arson in March, provided prenatal care and delivery, childhood immunizations, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, and contraceptive services. Medicaid recipients comprised 70% of participants in the clinic's prenatal program.

In August, The Women's Clinic in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida lost its lease after 10 years at the same location as a result of continued anti-abortion demonstrations, vandalism and extreme harassment. The Women's Clinic provides a wide range of low-cost health care services to a patient load that is approximately 40% poor minority women, 25% of whom are Haitians. It is the only facility that will accept patients who have tested HIV positive. In court, an official from Florida's Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services testified that The Women's Clinic was the only facility to which the Department could refer patients for low cost bilateral tubal legations and vasectomies.

The Women's Clinic located new space, but on the day it was to move in, the new landlord refused to allow the clinic to take occupancy, citing death threats by anti-abortion extremists against his family. Attorneys worked to secure a temporary restraining order to compel specific performance on the lease agreement, but the judge denied the emergency motion and the clinic is now awaiting a trial date in court. With Emergency Clinic Survival Assistance from the Feminist Majority, The Women's Clinic has been able to find other temporary space and is again providing health care services to the women of Ft. Lauderdale.