# of abortionists killed?
September 5, 2009 12:37 PM   Subscribe

How many abortionists have been killed in the last 30-or-so years?

I was discussing Tiller's murder with a friends a few days ago, and he made the claim that "hundreds" of abortionists have been killed by fundamentalist Christians. That seemed absurdly, unbelievably high. I tried doing some google searches, but I couldn't find anything other than stories about Tiller. I can't imagine there have been more than 3 or 4 in the last decade or more. Is there anywhere I could find numbers?
posted by resiny to Society & Culture (8 answers total)
At least 9 in the US. Wikipedia.
posted by Jaltcoh at 12:43 PM on September 5, 2009

There's a Wikipedia article on the subject.
According to statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings committed against abortion providers.[9]
The article describes nine abortion provider murders in the United States.
posted by zixyer at 12:43 PM on September 5, 2009

The google term you're looking for is "abortion providers" or "physicians who perform abortions" people who use the word "abortionist" tend to be those who don't consider it a legitimate medical procedure, and thus are less likely to be reporting on the serious problem of threats of violence against physicians and staff at clinics.

This might be a place to start. There's a chart mid-way down the page that shows statistics for 1989-2004, but additional information on this page might point you in the direction of sources for the numbers you're looking for.
posted by Meg_Murry at 12:45 PM on September 5, 2009 [10 favorites]

The National Abortion Federation offers this chart, which gives the incidents of violence and disruption in the US and Canada, by year, from 1977 to present. Notice it's not just murdered, but also kidnapped, bombing, vandalism, threats, etc., which I think provides the fullest picture of what these doctors face.
posted by Houstonian at 12:51 PM on September 5, 2009

Well, there's a wikipedia article on anti-abortion violence - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-abortion_violence - which lists several cases of attacks on abortion providers, abortion clinics, patients at abortion clinics, and clinic assistants in the US, Canada, and Australia. I'm not sure how reliable it is, though; it is Wikipedia.

If you're researching violence against "abortionists" (personally, for made-up terms used to describe doctors who provide abortions, I like "ABORTIOMATIC 9000", but that's just me*), though, you should have a look at this site: http://www.christiangallery.com/atrocity/aborts.html. This sort of thing is why abortion providers, women who need abortions, and people who work in abortion clinics are so scared of anti-choice violence. There haven't been "hundreds" of doctors murdered - but it doesn't seem like that's due to a lack of people inciting and condoning violence against them.

*I'm not trying to be snarky, this is just something of a pet peeve of mine - the term "abortionist" makes it easy to overlook the fact that these are doctors, providing medical care at the request of their patients. And when that fact gets overlooked, well, you get things like on-line hit lists that encourage violence against them.
posted by ellehumour at 1:14 PM on September 5, 2009 [12 favorites]

"abortionists" (personally, for made-up terms used to describe doctors who provide abortions, I like "ABORTIOMATIC 9000", but that's just me*)

The OED's first citation for abortionist is from 1844.
posted by The Tensor at 1:53 PM on September 5, 2009

For added fun: These assorted statistics mostly seem to be counting quantifiable, documentable threats. I was an abortion clinic patient escort for several years. I reported a couple of instances where I was actually followed and verbally harassed leaving the clinic, and those would probably be counted in these numbers.

What's not in these numbers would be all the completely vile things clinic protesters said to me or the things that were said that made it very clear they'd gone to some effort to figure out who I was and could likely find me any old time outside of the clinic if they wanted to. This was basically every day you worked at the clinic; you couldn't report it as harassment every time or you'd do nothing but spend every second of your day filling out paper, not helping the clients you were there to help.

Clinic violence and the threat of clinic violence is extremely pervasive in clinic work. The actual numbers may be on the small side (though still horrifying, if you ask me), but the threat is constant. Or was. To be fair, at least where I live, they've enacted some ordinances since I stopped volunteering that I'm told have cut down some on the clinic protesters and made things calmer all around, so my knowledge is a bit out of date.

If I ever go back into it, I'm totally getting an ABORTIOMATIC 9000 t-shirt made up.
posted by Stacey at 3:42 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

Seconding Stacey....as an escort I was threatened a lot, and not just at the clinic, but I rarely reported anything unless someone actually showed up where I lived. The threats were spooky enough though that I was able to get a concealed weapons license, was trained by a policeman, and carried for a while. Ordinances here have also made it illegal for the protesters to do what they were doing back then. Also...there's almost no abortion providers left for them to protest.
posted by dejah420 at 5:29 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]

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