Undercover Audio Reveals Intimidation Tactics of Texas Anti-Abortion Groups
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and Progress Texas released a video today containing audio from “Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed,” a training hosted by Texas anti-abortion groups at the State Capitol on August 4, 2014. The video reveals the alarming methods anti-abortion activists currently employ to physically intimidate women from accessing safe and legal abortion care. The disturbing tactics outlined by the four speakers in the video include: identifying and monitoring patients, providers and clinic staff, lining sidewalks outside clinics to dissuade patients from entering clinics, tracking and cataloguing the physical descriptions and car license plates of patients, and searching tax records to find locations of new abortion providers.
This training was conducted on the first day of the Whole Woman’s Health v Lakey trial, a lawsuit challenging the admitting privileges and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) provisions of House Bill 2 (HB2), the omnibus anti-abortion bill passed by the legislature last summer. Since the passage of HB2, more than half of Texas’ abortion clinics have closed, and if the ASC “mini-hospital” provision goes into effect, after September 1, only six or seven clinics will remain open in the state.
In a statement, Heather Busby, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas executive director said:
“The same groups that lobbied Texas lawmakers to pass HB2, a law that has nothing to do with the health and safety of women, are those outside abortion clinics, harassing and intimidating patients, blocking them from accessing the care they need, and threatening abortion providers. With fewer clinics for these stalking protestors to target, the dangerous impact of their intimidation tactics will be exacerbated. Texas women are now not only forced to travel hundreds of miles to even access a safe and legal Texas clinic, but once they reach a clinic they must also confront the very real threat posed by these anti-abortion activists. The anti-abortion harassment tactics outlined in this disturbing training lead women to seek dangerous alternatives.”
Abortion providers are routinely subjected to violence, including bombings, arsons, vandalism, burglaries, shootings, harassment, and stalking. Since 1993, 4 doctors, 2 clinic employees, 1 clinic escort and 1 security guard have been killed by anti-abortion violence. Since 1991, there have been 17 attempted murders.