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Talking Points Memo Publishes Essay by Professor and Alumna on Targeted Harassment of Abortion Providers

Professor David S. Cohen and alumna Krysten Connon

March 28, 2014

In an essay published on the “Talking Points Memo” blog on March 28, Professor David S. Cohen and alumna Krysten Connon, ‘12, explore tactics that anti-abortion extremists use to intimidate the staff and volunteers of health care facilities that provide abortions.

Activists post the names, photos and details about abortion providers, clinic escorts, and even journalists who have written about reproductive health issues in posters styled to make them appear as “wanted” criminals, Cohen and Connon wrote.

“Wanted posters have a chilling history in the anti-abortion movement,” they wrote, citing the deaths of at least four abortion providers who were murdered since 1993 after appearing in such placards.   

Cohen and Connon noted that the posters have become the subject of litigation, including a North Carolina case in which a jury convicted an anti-abortion activist of stalking a physician who was the subject of posters he distributed.

The harassment is not limited to posters, Cohen and Connon noted, adding that between 2010 and 2012, the list of reported acts of intimidation tallied by the National Abortion Federation includes 9 attempted or successful bombings and arsons of abortion clinics, 61 acts of vandalism, 14 incidents of stalking, 10 death threats, 26 acts of burglary, 161 incidents of trespassing, 14 assaults and two incidents of bioterrorism threats.  

The essay offers a preview of Cohen and Connon’s forthcoming book, which will be published by Oxford University Press.