Feminist Friday: Reach Out and Touch Someone
Posted April 6, 2012on:
Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance. ~Ambrose Bierce
I don’t think that it comes as anything resembling a surprise that this country is sharply divided on the question of elective termination of pregnancy. The last decade has had some rather spectacular examples of just how far the “antis” are willing to go in order that the rest of we heathens are sufficiently impressed with the depth of their beliefs. Dr. George Tiller died, any number of clinics have been bombed, and the perpetrators are treated as folk heroes rather than the murderous individuals that they are. Two state legislatures contemplated (albeit briefly) adding laws to consider adding the killing of an abortionist to the list of justifiable homicides. During their less blood-thirsty moments, fervent anti-abortionists have bombarded the offices of providers with endless telephone calls begging them to reconsider their career choices.
As for the rest of us, we’ve been pretty well speechless in the face of this. Oh, we’ve counseled caution, huffed about a woman’s right to choose, suggested that we consider proper family planning teaching. Our reward has been schools teaching abstinence, funding cuts for Planned Parenthood and other clinics and Rush Limbaugh’s defamation of a Georgetown student being lauded in certain circles. Probably none of us will ever shoot anti-abortion protesters, but it seems that there may be something that we can do.
I have a new hero, and his name is Todd Stave. Todd inherited an office building from his father that houses an abortion provider. He has been familiar with protesters picketing, praying,lighting candles and displaying gory photographs outside of the building, and supports their right to do so under the First Amendment. The protestors, however, began to gather outside of his daughters school and then began calling his home at all hours of the day and night demanding that he terminate the lease, and to let him know that they were praying for his soul. Todd first got angry, then he figured out a way to get even.
He began to write down the telephone numbers of the callers, and enlisted his friends who enlisted their friends, and so forth. Soon the callers were receiving hundreds of telephone calls from people who spoke softly and nicely thanking them on behalf of the Stave family for their prayers. The callers also advised that the Stave family could not and would not terminate the lease, as they believe in choice.
Word spread, and a new association has formed – Voice of Change. From their website:
For too long, the abortion discussion has been dominated by angry, nasty protests fueled by individuals and organizations that thrive on sensationalism and extremism. Now it is our turn.
“Voice of Choice” was established as a calm, measured response to anti-abortion activists who engage in misguided, raging protest tactics that are often ill-informed and only serve to victimize women, pro-choice professionals, law-abiding businesses and unaligned bystanders.
We use email, telephone and social media in peaceful, person-to-person counter-protests against groups that target abortion facilities, providers and patients, as well as their families and communities. We don’t question anyone’s right to express opinions and ideals; we challenge their bullying tactics and their contempt.
Widdershins, I am beyond excited. I am retired, have a telephone service with unlimited long-distance calling, and I can sit here all day and make phone calls. As a triage nurse in public hospitals, I’ve been called almost everything that you can think of, so negative feedback will not be particularly distressing. If this catches on, perhaps we can make the PLUBS realize that we need reasonably priced prenatal care, the same sort of maternity leave that’s available in other enlightened nations, accessible child care and family planning. I think that the latter issues would be of more general value to society than brandishing posters of mangled fetuses to the world. If you have some time and would like to help, sign up and the website.
This is an open thread.
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