By Mary Margaret Olohan
Abortion providers say that levels of violence have risen since the passage of restrictive abortion laws.
There is a direct correlation between restrictive abortion legislation and the rise in violence against abortion clinics that is “beyond anything we’ve ever seen before,” abortion providers told CBS news in interviews.
“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in violence and disruption against clinics,” said Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, who is an Episcopal priest and interim president & chief executive officer of the National Abortion Federation.
Ragsdale also told CBS that the violence is “beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.”
The National Abortion Federation, which tracks violent acts committed against abortion clinics, tracked 1,081 violent acts in 2017 and 1,369 violent acts in 2018.
The 2018 records include 15 instances of assault and battery, 13 burglaries, 14 counts of stalking and more than a thousand instances of illegal trespassing.
Harassment at a St. Louis Planned Parenthood escalated following a May bill banning abortions after the baby has reached eight weeks, chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis region Colleen McNicholas told CBS News.
The clinic where McNicholas works is the last remaining abortion clinic in Missouri. (RELATED: Last Missouri Planned Parenthood Suing To Avoid Closure, Repeatedly Defied State Heath Standards)
The Missouri Department of Health and Human Safety told the clinic in April that the clinic’s license could not be renewed until it met the HHS health requirements, which the clinic refused to do. Following a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, a judge ruled to keep the clinic temporarily open in June.
McNicholas also said that she was advised to increase her home security, but she declined to give specific details on this topic to CBS, citing safety reasons.
Abortion clinic providers say the situation is becoming worse, the publication reports, as authorities arrested three young men in August who threatened to shoot up Planned Parenthood facilities.
One of these men, Tennessee resident 20-year-old Jacob Cooper, wrote in a Facebook post, “Make sure you tell them about how I plan to shoot up a planned parenthood facility in Washington D.C., on August 19th at 3pm,” CBS reports.
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