ADL Report Highlights Growing Issue of Anti-Abortion Extremism Across the US

Says Planned Parenthood Attack is “Stark Reminder” of “America’s Forgotten Terrorism”

New York, NY, December 4, 2015 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today released a new report examining anti-abortion violence and extremism across the U.S. in the wake of the deadly shooting spree at a local Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado.

The new report, “Anti-Abortion Violence in America: The Stealth Terrorism,” outlines various incidents that took place over the past decade, and discusses the issue of deep anti-abortion animus as a strong motivation for carrying out acts of terror against women’s health clinics.

The report provides an analysis of:

  • Why anti-abortion violence still remains as “America’s forgotten terrorism”
  • Why such deadly attacks such as the Colorado Springs shootings and the 2009 assassination of a physician in Kansas represent a “war on reproductive rights”
  • Lack of national media reporting on the growing problem
  • Propaganda campaigns designed to demonize abortion providers and women’s health centers
  • The types and extent of violence used against reproductive health centers
  • Extent of lone wolf violence

“The horrific assault on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado was very much a stark reminder of the extreme anti-abortion violence that has surfaced across the country over the past several years,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Unfortunately, many recent acts of anti-abortion violence have gone underreported. This is a growing phenomenon that we must bring to the forefront.

“Violent acts motivated by such deep hostility against women’s reproductive rights, acts that range from arson to cold-blooded murder, can be described as ‘America’s forgotten terrorism,’ as the list of tragic incidents has grown larger in recent years,” Mr. Greenblatt added.

ADL’s report categorizes anti-abortion violence as “single issue terrorism” committed by extremists who are centered on a very specific and often narrow issue.

“Anti-abortion extremists are not very organized, but they are well-networked,” said Mark Pitcavage, Director of ADL’s Center on Extremism. “Most single issue terrorist movements represent the extreme wing of broader, more mainstream movement, and that is certainly the case with regard to anti-abortion terrorism.”

“A large volume of anti-abortion extremist activity is also highly visible online,” Mr. Pitcavage added. “Websites and documents created by those supporting anti-abortion violence often make information public - sometimes including home addresses - about the physicians and other staff who work at such clinics with the hope that other extremists who access these pages will be inspired to carry out an attack like we just witnessed in at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. This is quite a disturbing phenomenon.”

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

More from this Section