If you’ve noticed lately that you can’t walk past your local abortion clinic or Planned Parenthood branch without being approached by protesters who have perched themselves just beyond the legal buffer zone, it’s not just you. Results of the National Clinic Violence survey conducted last year by The Feminist Majority Foundation found that clinic doctors and nurses have been increasingly experiencing instances of intimidation and stalking since 2010.
According to the survey, harassment and intimidation has increased from 26.6 percent to 51.9 percent over the past four years. Though severe violence, which includes invasions, gunfire and bomb threats, has subsided since 2010, protestors seem to be resorting to other tactics that are less violent by nature, but no less disturbing.
In an effort to intimidate, protestors have tried everything from posting staff members’ pictures and personal information online to printing pamphlets that directly target specific people. And it’s not just clinic staff members who are affected. Women who visit these clinics for a number of reasons, which may not even involve an abortion, also have to endure some degree of harassment.
So while there may seem to be a fine line between verbal intimidation tactics and actual violence, it’s still just as alarming—and concerning—to hear that staff and visitors of these clinics have to face non-violent harassment on a daily basis.