where they may seek to influence the composition of school boards and to control the content of curricula regarding human sexuality. The increasing stridency and polarization of public debate over abortion, sex education, and other related topics has created an atmosphere that endangers political and public financial support for sex education, family planning, and the provision of legal abortions.
The growing intensity even endangers the lives and resources of those providing these services, as the increasingly vehement rhetoric may be seen as a signal to action by those prone to violence. In particular, the movement has been associated with systematic and increasing harassment of abortion facilities and their personnel, including several murders. The National Abortion Federation (1993) reported that between 1977 and 1993, there were more than 6,000 incidents of clinic disruptions, 589 blockades against family planning and abortion clinics, and almost 1,500 acts of violence against abortion providers. Abortion facilities that are not based in hospitals are more likely to be harassed than those that are based in hospitals, as are facilities that perform relatively higher volumes of abortion. More than half of the providers who perform more than 400 abortions annually report that they have been picketed at least 20 times annually as well (Henshaw, 1991).
The relationship of abortion opposition to unintended pregnancy centers on three issues: first, because some facilities that provide abortions also dispense contraceptive services and supplies, any restriction on access to abortion facilities may also limit access to contraception; second, the number of unintended pregnancies resolved by abortion rather than childbearing may be affected; and three, the general climate of controversy created around the issue of abortion may spill over into other areas of reproductive services and education, confusing clients about what services are actually available and with what restrictions, affecting the morale and performance of those who work in the family planning field, and encouraging an atmosphere of high emotion on all issues of reproductive and sexual health, not just abortion.
With regard to the first issue, data show that only about 85 of the 4,000 contraceptive clinics that receive funding from the federal Title X program perform abortions (using funds other than Title X funds); and about half of these 85 are in hospitals (L. Kaeser, pers. com., 1994). Looked at from the opposite side, however, it is also apparent that many abortion facilities also are a main source of contraceptive services as well. Depending on how one defines a "nonhospital abortion facility," in 1989 somewhere between 83 and 94 percent of such facilities also provided contraceptive care to nonabortion patients. These facilities also offer many other services, including screening and treatment for STDs, general gynecologic care, and infertility services (Henshaw, 1991). To the extent that these facilities and their clients are harassed because of the facilities' abortion activities, access to contraceptive services is compromised, which in turn may contribute to the incidence of unintended pregnancy. Crossing