Violence Against Abortion Providers Statistics

In 1994, the United State Congress enacted the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act of 1994 (FACE). (18 U.S.C. 248 et seq.) FACE establishes " 'federal criminal penalties and civil remedies for certain violent, threatening, obstructive, and destructive conduct that is intended to injure, intimidate or interfere with persons seeking to obtain or provide reproductive health services.' " (U.S. v. McMillan (S.D.Miss. 1995) 946 F. Supp. 1254, 1258, quoting Pub.L. No. 103-259, 2.) Enactment of the statute was supported by several congressional findings. Among other things, Congress found that "there was 'a nationwide campaign of anti-abortion blockades' and violence that was 'barring access to facilities that provided abortion services,'; that abortion opponents had committed a least 36 bombings, 81 arsons, 131 death threats, 84 assaults, 2 kidnappings, 327 clinic invasions, 71 chemical attacks, and the murder of Dr. David Gunn, a physician who had performed abortions in Florida and several neighboring states, citations; and that 'this conduct was interfering with the exercise of the constitutional right of a woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy, and threatened to exacerbate an already severe shortage of qualified providers available to perform safe and legal abortions in this country.' " (946 F. Supp. at p. 1261.) Congress also expressly found that "state and local law enforcement authorities have proved unable or unwilling to address effectively 'the systematic and nationwide assault that is being waged against health care providers and patients.' " (Ibid., quoting Sen.Rep. No. 117, 103d Cong., 1st Sess., pp. 7, 14 (1993).)