2015 Was the Worst Year in History For Anti-Abortion Violence

A new report from the National Abortion Federation shows that anti-abortion violence hit an all-time high in 2015. While there were only 91 instances of online hate speech aimed at abortion providers and pro-choice activists in 2014, the NAF counted 25,839 instances of hate speech in 2015. Threats of bodily harm increased from one in 2014 to 94 in 2015, and Robert Lewis Dear's shooting of a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic resulted in three of the 11 murders that have taken place since the NAF started tracking anti-abortion violence in 1977.  

The NAF says the reason for the "dramatic escalation" in violence in 2015 is directly correlated to the "misleading videos" released last year as part of an anti-abortion smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.

"The sharp rise in threats and violence in 2015 is alarming, and directly correlates to the release of inflammatory videos aimed at demonizing providers," said Vicki Saporta, president and CEO of NAF, in a statement. "In my more than 20 years with NAF, I have not seen such an escalation of hate speech, threats, and calls to action against abortion providers."

According to The Daily Beast, the smear campaign videos, which misleadingly show abortion providers talking about selling fetal tissue, directly preceded the increase in anti-abortion violence, including Robert Dear's shooting at the Colorado Springs clinic. "This clinic is part of the
Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains affiliate, which was featured in the highly-edited, inflammatory
videos," reads the NAF report. "When police arrested Dear, he made a reference to part of the video smear campaign."

A recent Los Angeles Times investigation found that many of the smear campaign videos, which were spearheaded by David Daleiden, involved coaching and careful rehearsals by the subjects interviewed in the videos in order to make them appear traumatized, and say things that seem "like, messed up.

You can read the full NAF report on anti-abortion violence in 2015 here, and see how the numbers compare to years previous, dating all the way back to 1977.

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