June 24, 2022

The National Abortion Federation says violence against abortion providers is rising sharply.

The federation, an abortion-rights group, reports:

The statistics show a significant increase in stalking (600%), blockades (450%), hoax devices/suspicious packages (163%), invasions (129%), and assault and battery (128%).

NAF has been compiling statistics on incidents of violence and disruption against abortion providers for 45 years. Since 1977, there have been 11 murders, 42 bombings, 196 arsons, 491 assaults, and thousands of incidents of criminal activities directed at patients, providers, and volunteers.

Notable statistics from 2021:

  • Assaults have risen from 15 in 2018, to 123 in 2021.
  • Stalking has increased by 600% since 2020.
  • Invasions have increased by 129%
  • 71 hoax devices or suspicious packages were reported at clinics, compared to 4 in 2018.
  • Bomb threats saw an 80% increase in comparison to previous years.

According to new findings from the Guttmacher Institute’s latest Abortion Provider Census — the most comprehensive data collection effort of abortion providers in the United States — there were 8% more abortions in 2020 than in 2017. That reverses a three-decade decline in abortions.

Pew Research has a summary of America’s abortion statistics:

The annual number of U.S. abortions rose for years after Roe v. Wade legalized the procedure in 1973, generally reaching its highest levels in the late 1980s and early 1990s, according to both the CDC and Guttmacher. Since then it has generally decreased at what a CDC analysis called “a slow yet steady pace.”

Abortion statistics come from medical data mixed with estimates. Generally, experts agree, the figures are an underestimate.

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Here is Guttmacher’s state-by-state abortion census data. Guttmacher’s Abortion Provider Census estimates:

  • In 2020, there were 930,160 abortions in the United States, an 8% increase from 862,320 abortions in 2017.
  • Similarly, the abortion rate increased from 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2017 to 14.4 per 1,000 women, a 7% increase.
  • In 2020, about one in five pregnancies ended in abortion. More specifically, the abortion ratio (the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies) increased from 18.4% in 2017 to 20.6% in 2020, a 12% increase.
  • The increase in abortion was accompanied by a 6% decline in births between 2017 and 2020.
  • Because there were many more births (3.6 million) than abortions (930,000) in 2020, these patterns mean that fewer people were getting pregnant and, among those who did, a larger proportion chose to have an abortion.
  • The number of abortions increased in all four regions of the country between 2017 and 2020. The rise was largest in the West (12% increase) and Midwest (10% increase); abortions increased 8% in the South and 2% in the Northeast.


Pew reports:

Abortion pills have been available online for years, and the Guttmacher Institute says the decline in abortions cited in its 2017 report may be overstated if purchases of abortion pills outside clinical settings have substantially increased. Even if these purchases of the pills have increased, though, Guttmacher says there has still been a national decline in abortions overall.

Al Tompkins writes Covering COVID-19, a daily Poynter briefing of story ideas about the pandemic and other timely topics for journalists. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

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Al Tompkins is one of America's most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer,…
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