Even the creation of a buffer zone feels like a solution from someone not directly engaged on the ground. The city of Jackson, Miss., repealed its 15-foot buffer zone around the last abortion clinic in the state, The Pink House, in 2020, about a year after enacting it. Anti-abortion protesters said the zone violated their free speech rights.


At the West Virginia clinic, a city ordinance allows an eight-foot buffer zone. “I have seen countless instances of protesters violating it, and I’ve only ever seen two actually be arrested and fined for it,” Quiñonez said. “It’s really just if the right officer is working that day, then you might actually see something happen.”

Asking why trespassing and sidewalk harassment aren’t considered as terrible as murder is the wrong question—not because one has a more obvious loss of life, but because the question suggests that people care about what happens to abortion providers. While there’s majority support for abortion in America, support of the day-to-day operations that make abortion access possible feels murky and hard to quantify.


Because society has accepted the right-wing definition of abortion as something to be hidden away from public view, best only done in rare cases, abortion clinics, providers, and patients become inured to regular picketing, protesting, and leafletting.

“This is supposed to be a health care facility. Exactly how many abortion providers are we going to say, ‘It’s OK that they were assassinated?’ The answer should be zero,” said Quiñonez. “[Anti-abortion protests] should always be considered extreme and dangerous.”