Clinic Access

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.

Has the state passed “clinic access” legislation to protect women and providers from violence and harassment at reproductive health centers?

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
Alabama No Policy Same
Alaska No Policy Same
Arizona No Policy Same
Arkansas No Policy Same
California Limited Policy Same
Colorado Limited Policy Same
Connecticut No Policy Same
Delaware No Policy Same
District of Columbia Limited Policy Same
Florida No Policy Same
Georgia No Policy Same
Hawaii No Policy Same
Idaho No Policy Same
Illinois No Policy Same
Indiana No Policy Same
Iowa No Policy Same
Kansas Limited Policy Same
Kentucky No Policy Same
Louisiana No Policy Same
Maine Limited Policy Same
Maryland Limited Policy Same
Massachusetts Limited Policy Same
Michigan Limited Policy Same
Minnesota Limited Policy Same
Mississippi No Policy Same
Missouri No Policy Same
Montana Limited Policy Same
Nebraska No Policy Same
Nevada 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
Ohio No Policy Same
Oklahoma No Policy Same
Oregon Limited Policy Same
Pennsylvania No Policy Same
Rhode Island No Policy Same
South Carolina No Policy Same
South Dakota No Policy Same
Tennessee No Policy Same
Texas No Policy Same
Utah No Policy Same
Vermont No Policy Same
Virginia No Policy Same
Washington 4 Limited Policy Same
West Virginia No Policy Same
Wisconsin Limited Policy Same
Wyoming No Policy Same

Policy Indicator Counts
Meets Policy: 
Limited Policy: 
Weak Policy: 
No/Harmful Policy: 

Data Source: Guttmacher Institute, "State Policies in Brief: Protecting Access to Clinics," September 2010, available at, 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, accessed September 1, 2010.  For current statistics on clinic violence, see National Abortion Federation, “Violence and Disruption Statistics,” available at, accessed September 1, 2010.

2 18 U.S.C. § 248 (1994).

3 National Abortion Federation, “Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act,” available at, 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.

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