About ten years ago, I attended the funeral of Norma Stave, a good friend who, with her husband Carl, was the co-owner of two abortion clinics in Maryland. Carl was the main physician who performed the abortions. When I arrived at the church, Carl came up to me and asked at the last second if I would deliver a eulogy. I had always been comfortable talking in front of audiences but this was a different animal. Still, I was able to get through it, using my few minutes to praise Norma for her devotion to women in need.
Skip ahead a number of years. Carl died shortly after Norma and their son, Todd, ultimately became the landlord for their two buildings. About eight months ago, Todd’s clinic in Germantown, Maryland attracted national attention when they hired Doctor Lee Carhart, a physician who worked for the late George Tiller and who vowed to continue George’s work by offering late term abortions.
Soon thereafter, local anti-abortion advocates learned that Todd owned that building where Lee worked. They quickly organized a number of protests, accomplished their goal of getting publicity in the local papers and have been a continual presence ever since. Then, looking for another angle to get their names in the papers, they decided to crawl deeper into the gutter. They learned where Todd’s 11 year old daughter was going to school and at a Back to School night, they stood outside the school with a banner that read “Please Stop Killing the Children” and the usual photos of aborted fetuses. Then, these wackos actually put Todd’s picture, phone numbers and email addresses online and urged their followers to contact him with their “prayers.” Todd was inundated with calls and emails. Nice, huh?
But Todd decided to fight back. He compiled a list of the people who were calling and emailing him and he sent that list out to 20 of his friends, urging them to call those people. He told them to not argue with them, to just be polite and tell them that “the Stave family thanks you for your prayers.” Well, those 20 friends passed on the info to their friends, and so on and so on and within two days they had 5,000 pro-choice folks making calls. Interestingly, the calls and emails to Todd’s house came to an abrupt halt.
Hmmmmmm…Is Todd on to something here?
I talked to Todd last night. He tells me that he has actually established a group called “Voice of Choice” (www.VoChoice.org) which seeks to organize a “person to person counter campaign against anti-choice bullying.” The people who volunteer are notified when a certain anti-abortion advocate is harassing a doctor and are given that person’s phone and/or email. Then they start contacting that person. Todd says they have successfully stopped the harassment in two cases already.
I have no doubt that there are some pro-choicers out there who might feel uncomfortable about stooping to the tactics normally used by the anti abortion folks. Indeed, whether or not to use these kinds of aggressive tactics has been the subject of many conversations within the pro choice movement for years. In fact, Todd told me that some national pro-choice groups have been reluctant to cooperate with his organization.
When I was in the movement, I always came down on the side of those who did not support stooping to their level. I thought it was beneath us, that we had to take the high road. And maybe I’m just getting old and cranky. But now I say screw it. As long as it’s legal, go get the bastards, Todd!
- Turning the Tables (abortion.ws)
- Turning the Telephones on the Anti-Choice Bullies – Beacon Broadside (beaconbroadside.com)
- This One Goes Over the Line (abortion.ws)
- Countering the Anti-Abortion Bullies, Landlord Gives Them a Taste of Their Own Medicine (crooksandliars.com)
- Victim of Anti-Choice Bullying Sets Up Website to Help Others (onebluestocking.wordpress.com)
- A Pro-Choice Organization worth supporting (bullshitfighter.wordpress.com)
- Herman Cain: I’m Not Pro-Choice, I’m Pro-Choice On Getting An Illegal Abortion (mediaite.com)