Project Choice

The Abortion Provider: A Self Analysis

By: Mark Crutcher | President, Life Dynamics Incorporated
Release Date: February, 1993

In early 1993, Life Dynamics went undercover inside the American abortion industry in an initiative called:

“Project Choice.”

The goal was to interview as many Level 1 abortionists as possible, in order to document the lifestyle and experiences of those who actually perform this controversial procedure. This document details the results of that survey.

Some of its major findings were that:
  • 69% of the nation’s abortion providers say they are not respected in the medical community.
  • 65% feel ostracized because they perform abortions.
  • 61% have been verbally confronted by an anti-abortion physician.
  • Almost 1 in 5 has been denied hospital privileges because they perform abortions.
  • Almost half have had problems recruiting or keeping nurses or other staff because they perform abortions.
  • 64% say that performing abortion causes a negative impact on the non-abortion part of their practice.
  • Almost 60% say that their prestige as a physician is damaged by being identified as an abortion provider.
  • Almost 80% say that pro-choice organizations and politicians are not doing enough to support them.
  • 38% express moral misgivings about the abortion procedure.
  • 87% have been the victims of anti-abortion harassment or violence.

Goals & Methodology

Purposely designed not to broach the political or legal issues, the survey questionnaire was divided into four parts:

  • Profile
  • Motivation
  • Social Environment
  • Harassment and Violence

The PROFILE and MOTIVATION sections try to create a demographic picture of the average abortion provider, by anonymously gathering a small amount of information about his or her personal lifestyle.

In the SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT section, the survey examines the practical, everyday ramifications of being an abortion provider. The intent is not to discover how they perceive themselves, but to understand how they think being identified as an abortionist causes others to perceive them.

In the final section, HARASSMENT AND VIOLENCE, the goal is to find out how broadly and deeply anti-abortion activity impacts the daily lives of those who actually face it, and determine whether the average abortion provider sees anti-abortion activity as an acute problem, a mere nuisance, or something in-between.

On January 6, 1993, these surveys were sent to a mailing list of 961 abortion providers (the bulk of which was purchased from a professional mailing list company) representing every geographical region in America.

These 961 names and addresses constituted one hundred percent of the PROJECT CHOICE mailing list, and as such there was no attempt to select or discriminate against specific abortion providers or clinics. The goal was to get the largest numbers, and the broadest base, of responses as possible. In some cases, the name of the doctor was unknown and the mailing list company was only able to supply the name of an abortion clinic. In those instances, the survey was sent to that clinic with the implication that it be directed to the doctor on staff.

Several things were done in order to maximize the survey response rate.

First, the packages sent included a stamped/addressed envelope allowing the addressee to easily and freely respond. Second, beginning on the fourth business day after the initial mailing, a follow-up phone call was wade to all 961 addressees. Ostensibly, this call was made to insure that the survey had been received. However, its primary objective was to remind the recipients about the survey, while encouraging them to respond as quickly as possible. Finally, a follow-up postcard was mailed which again reminded those who had not yet responded to please do so.

The results were tabulated during the first week of February. At that point, the daily rate at which surveys were coming in convinced us that, for all practical purposes, those who intended to respond, had responded. The final count showed that 285 surveys had been returned, for a response rate of 29.66 percent.

Recognizing that this is an unusually large rate of return for a survey of this type, it seems obvious that the results of the PROJECT CHOICE survey have a very high probability of being representative of the entire target group. Of course, like any survey, not every respondent answered every question. Therefore, the percentages shown are a ration of the total surveys received. It must be pointed out that, in no case were the non-responses a large enough group to significantly alter the overall findings.

NOTE: While compiling these results, there were instances in which an important relationship was found to exist between the answers to one question and the answers to another one. In those instances, the information was identified under the heading: RELATED FINDINGS.