States can promote clinic access by banning violence, and by providing state police and prosecutorial authority in addition to that provided by federal authorities. Threats and violent attacks on reproductive health centers have had an extremely negative impact on women’s ability to obtain abortions.1 In 1994, Congress passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (FACE),2 and a decline in such incidents followed immediately.3 Similar laws at the state level would provide further protection through state enforcement mechanisms.
States receive a "meets policy" if they prohibit all threats to clinic access and a "limited policy" if they prohibit some threats to clinic access. States receive a "no policy" if they have no protections to promote clinic access.
|State||Strength of Policy||Change from 2007|
|District of Columbia||Limited Policy||Same|
|New Hampshire||No Policy||Same|
|New Jersey||No Policy||Same|
|New Mexico||No Policy||Same|
|New York||Limited Policy||Same|
|North Carolina||Limited Policy||Same|
|North Dakota||No Policy||Same|
|Rhode Island||No Policy||Same|
|South Carolina||No Policy||Same|
|South Dakota||No Policy||Same|
|Washington 4||Limited Policy||Same|
|West Virginia||No Policy||Same|
Data Source: Guttmacher Institute, "State Policies in Brief: Protecting Access to Clinics," September 2010, available at http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_PAC.pdf, accessed September 8, 2010.
1 Due to the atmosphere of intimidation and violence at many clinics, there is an escalating shortage of physicians willing to provide abortion services. NARAL Pro-choice America, “Clinic Violence and Intimidation,” January 22, 2007, available at http://www.prochoiceamerica.org/issues/abortion/access-to-abortion/clini..., accessed September 1, 2010. For current statistics on clinic violence, see National Abortion Federation, “Violence and Disruption Statistics,” available at http://www.prochoice.org/about_abortion/violence/violence_statistics.html, accessed September 1, 2010.
2 18 U.S.C. § 248 (1994).
3 National Abortion Federation, “Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act,” available at http://www.prochoice.org/Violence/Security/FACE.htm, accessed September 1, 2010.
4 Washington was graded incorrectly in the 2007 Report Card. It should have received a "limited policy" instead of a "meets policy." Since there is no change in the individual state law for this state, the comparison with 2007 is based on the underlying data, that is, there is no change from 2007.