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The Clinic Protection Act

By Sen. Linda Stewart and Rep. Amy Mercado
HB 227 / SB 412

Medical experts have called for greater protections for reproductive health care patients and providers, including greater enforcement of existing legal protections and increased vigilance by law enforcement.

Who would the Clinic Protection Act protect?

The Clinic Protection Act would protect a facility or anybody who works at a facility in Florida that provides reproductive health services and patients of facilities that provide reproductive health and people accompanying patients, such as a parent, partner, or clinic escort.

Why Florida needs the Clinic Protection Act

Clinic protests and blockades began to rise in the 1980’s and early 1990’s where we saw violence against abortion providers starting to escalate nationally. In March of 1993, Dr. Gunn was murdered outside of a Pensacola, FL clinic and in August of 1993 there was an attempted murder of Dr. Tiller outside of his Wichita, KS clinic. These incidents created urgency in Congress to pass new federal legislation to address the violence committed against providers and patients in reproductive health care facilities.

Once enacted in 1994, the federal FACE Act made it a federal crime to use force, the threat of force, or physical obstruction to intentionally injure, intimidate, interfere with, or attempt to injure, intimidate or interfere with somebody who provides or is obtaining reproductive health care services. Since then, more than fourteen states and D.C. have enhanced, state-level FACE Acts or similar legislation like the Clinic Protection Act.

Abortion providers, patients, and facilities are frequently the targets of violence and harassment, ranging from vandalism to deadly attacks. Florida alone has seen 36 acts of violence directed at reproductive health care providers with levels of violence ranging from arson, bomb threats, acid attacks to shootings since 1992 through 2012.

hile this violence has been a problem for many years, in the last year, reports of threats and incidents of violence against reproductive healthcare providers and facilities have skyrocketed nationally. According to the National Abortion Federation, the number of reported threats of direct harm to reproductive healthcare providers increased radically from 580 in 2016 to more than 1,700 in 2017.

Instances of threats reported by providers include phone calls threatening to “burn the clinic down” to threatening to bring an AK-47 assault rifle and “shoot up” the facility.

We need ensure that Floridians have access to reproductive health care in a safe environment. Support HB 227.