State of Siege: Antiabortion Violence, 1993-1998


Attacks on abortion clinics are treated as isolated incidents, covered briefly in the media, and then forgotten. But as this map shows [updated], these individual acts of violence together add up to far more: a campaign of terrorism that has touched nearly every corner of America.

Antiabortion extremists have killed seven people, attempted to murder 15 others, and caused millions in damages. They have also triggered the resignations of countless workers, forcing clinics to close and dramatically reducing women’s access to safe abortion.

This map shows officially confirmed incidents of extreme violence from 1993—when the first doctor was killed—to the present, as reported to the National Abortion Federation. It includes arsons, bombings, and butyric acid attacks, as well as shootings and a stabbing.

So far, these attacks have claimed the lives of seven clinic workers:

  • David Gunn, doctor, Pensacola, Florida
  • John Bayard Britton, doctor, Pensacola, Florida
  • James Barrett, clinic escort, Pensacola, Florida
  • Shannon Lowney, clinic receptionist, Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Leanne Nichols, clinic receptionist, Brookline, Massachusetts
  • Robert Sanderson, police officer, Birmingham, Alabama
  • Barnett A. Slepian, doctor, Amherst, New York

This map does not include attempted bombings and arsons, nor the shootings of abortion doctors that police may have wrongly classified as robberies. Nor does this map include incidents of low-level violence—like stalking, picketing, and death threats—that have been an endless source of trauma for people on the front lines.

One of four articles in our The Terrorist Campaign Against Abortion feature.