Your call is important to us.

April 2, 2012 § 1 Comment

Over the weekend there was a story about how one abortion clinic landlord, Todd Stave, has turned the tables on protesters. The Washington Post story is here and the Jezebel take is here.

Basically, anti-abortion protestors went way too far, picketing his kid’s school, phoning up his house to abuse him and leaving graphic propaganda on his doorstep. They used personal information and private contact details to intimidate and threaten.

Stave’s response is to get pro-choice activists to phone them back – thousands of times – and do the same. It’s called Voice of Choice. The website says that he is ‘a parent on the periphery of the abortion debate’ which is a bit misleading. In his own words, he has ‘been a member of this fight since Roe vs Wade, since I was 5 years old’, his father having performed abortions in the very same building.

Pro-choice people are pretty amped about this, re-tweeting the story with ‘Genius’, ‘Excellent’ and ‘AWESOME!’ tacked on the front. I don’t get this.

Voice of Choice now have an ‘army’ of volunteers – up to 3000 – working the phone lines. Volunteers are allowed to be anonymous, but they are given personal information to use in the phone calls. Exactly the same sort of information – pro-choicer’s home addresses, their children’s names, where they attend child care. Their script starts out apologetic (Yes, thank you for your prayers. No, we aren’t quitting) but ends up in more personal territory. Like, maybe this territory:

By the way, you have a nice house up there on Church Street. And how is Mary-Pat enjoying St Barnibus? (She sure had a purty dress on today.)

Jezebel gleefully asks ‘Are you getting shivers up your spine yet?’  Why, yes. Yes I am!

How is this awesome? It was ugly and creepy when anti-abortion activists did it, and it’s ugly and creepy now.

Also, risky business. As anyone who has ever lost their temper at the injustices dealt out by an unsympathetic Customer Service Representative knows, we sometimes find ourselves diverting from the polite script that was Plan A.

An army of anonymous, passion-filled volunteers is a pretty big ship to turn around. What if one of those people, armed with a child’s name and whereabouts and who knows what else, decides to take direct action? (There has been too much of this already.)

People who want to stop abortion shouldn’t threaten other people’s kids, but neither should those who want to protect it. You don’t get to claim the moral high ground over your opponent while you are deep in the same trench, slinging mud.




§ One Response to Your call is important to us.

  • Alan Kerlin says:

    Fair point. I thought it was a clever to creep out the anti-abortionists and let them experience a little of what it feels like to be on the end of their behaviour. But yes – there are people who go too far and you can’t control them…

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