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 to advance their ideology.
Beginning in July, the Center for Medical Progress—a pro-life organization—released videos that alleged that Planned Parenthood engaged in the illegal sale of human organs and fetal tissue. As a result, law enforcement agencies warned of a possible increase in criminal or suspicious activity against reproductive healthcare providers, as well as their staffs and facilities.
In November, Robert Dear attacked a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado Springs, killing three and wounding nine before being arrested. Dear justified his actions by citing videos released by the Center for Medical Progress.
THREAT TO NEW JERSEY: LOW
In the last ten years, there have been no reported incidents of violence involving anti-abortion extremists in New Jersey. However, extremists have shown an ability to blend within the otherwise lawful anti-abortion movement and have used the Internet to spread extremist rhetoric.
In 2009, Scott Roeder, who was active in the anti-abortion movement for more than a decade, murdered George Tiller, a doctor known for administering abortions, in Wichita, Kansas.
In 2015, the National Abortion Federation reported arson attacks in Washington, Louisiana, and Illinois following an online call for a nationwide arson campaign. The unidentified person wrote, “One person setting fire to an abortion clinic will not do anything, but thousands setting fire to an abortion clinic will speak volumes.”
NEW JERSEY NEXUS
New Jersey has 26 Planned Parenthood facilities and more than 170 ambulatory surgical care centers providing abortions.
In New Jersey, there are three regional Planned Parenthood affiliates accredited by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA). Each affiliate has a Security Director responsible for reporting suspicious activity to PPFA on a monthly basis.
Planned Parenthood in New Jersey
On February 4, 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 Intra-Uterine Devices, are the same as receiving an abortion, potentially making locations selling these products targets.