Professor David S. Cohen and class of 2012 graduate, Krysten Connon, presented their groundbreaking national study on abortion clinic violence at a sold-out event co-sponsored by Women’s Medical Fund and Women’s Law Project on Jan. 24, Philadelphia Weekly reported.
For their study, Cohen and Connon interviewed approximately 85 health care providers in 33 states to examine the effects of harassment on those who work at abortion facilities.
“What we found is that targeted harassment can take a variety of forms, is ongoing, and can affect anyone associated with abortion care,” Cohen said. The study shows that the violence against providers range from stalking to arson, bombings and murder. As for those working at the clinics, their reactions range from fear so severe that they wear bullet proof vests to work to extreme indifference, Cohen and Connon said.
Increasing public awareness was a motivation for the study, Cohen and Connon said. Cohen pointed out the need to distinguish between ordinary First-Amendment acts of protest and violent targeted harassment, stating that the latter, “should be branded by the law, by the public, as terrorism.”
Cohen and Connon hope to compile the results of their study into a book to be released later in the year.
Cohen, an expert on constitutional law and gender issues, sexual harassment and discrimination law, has published articles in the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, George Washington Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, Boston University Law Review, South Carolina Law Review and the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.