Anti-Abortion Extremists

Background

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  • Anti-abortion extremists are individuals or groups who believe abortion is unethical and that violence is justified against people and establishments providing abortion services. Anti-abortion extremists advocate murder, death threats, and other criminal activity, including arson, vandalism, and harassment against women’s reproductive healthcare facilities.
  • Since 1993, seven anti-abortion extremists have been responsible for the deaths of 11 people nationwide, including abortion doctors, clinic staff, clinic security guards, and civilians.
  • Army of God (AOG), a decentralized Christian extremist movement, encourages violent opposition toward abortion clinics and providers. AOG influenced all seven anti-abortion extremists who carried out lethal attacks nationwide.

Threat to New Jersey: Low

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Anti-abortion extremists predominantly adhere to a blend of single-issue and anti-government ideologies. Media attention and perceived controversies mobilize participants.

  • In November 2017, federal authorities charged three men for the attempted bombing of an abortion clinic in Champaign, Illinois.
  • Several anti-abortion extremists who have blended ideologies—identifying with sovereign citizen and militia extremism—have carried out murder, arson, and bombings. In 2009, sovereign citizen extremist Scott Roeder murdered Dr. George Tiller for carrying out late-term abortions in Wichita, Kansas. In 1996, four militia members were arrested for burning down an abortion clinic in Washington State, and anti-government extremist Eric Rudolph bombed two abortion clinics in Georgia and Alabama between 1997 and 1998.
  • In November 2015, Robert Dear targeted a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing three and injuring nine, after the Center for Medical Progress, a pro-life organization, released inflammatory videos featuring clinics in Denver. As of November 2017, he remains incompetent to stand trial.

New Jersey Nexus

  • In February, Marckles Alcius, from Lowell, Massachusetts, crashed a stolen bakery truck into a Planned Parenthood clinic on Valentine’s Day in East Orange (Essex County), injuring three people, including two staff members and a pregnant woman.
  • New Jersey has 22 Planned Parenthood facilities and more than 170 ambulatory surgical care centers providing abortions.
  • In New Jersey, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) has two regional accredited Planned Parenthood affiliates. Each affiliate has a security director responsible for reporting suspicious activity to PPFA on a monthly basis.
  • In February 2016, New Jersey’s General Assembly introduced legislation requiring retail pharmacies to stock emergency contraception in accordance with federal Food and Drug Administration regulations.
  • Some anti-abortion extremists believe the use of contraceptive methods, such as Plan B, ella, and intrauterine devices, are the same as receiving an abortion, potentially making locations selling these products targets.
  • New Jersey does not have any of the major types of abortion restrictions often found in other states, such as waiting periods, mandated parental involvement, or limitations on publicly funded abortions.

For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.