The Widdershins

Feminist Friday: Reach Out and Touch Someone

Posted on: April 6, 2012

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.

29 Responses to "Feminist Friday: Reach Out and Touch Someone"

It never ceases to amaze me that there are people out there willing to stand outside a healthcare clinic day after day simply to harass others who seek the services of a medical provider when whatever transpires between doctor and patient has no bearing whatsoever in the life of anyone else.

Holding signs, clutching rosaries, shouting at patients who dare enter, these people are free to do so under the First Amendment that allows them to harass and humiliate women who are having a tough time as it is.

These people are truly crazy as most zealots are who gather to “protest” against something that is truly none of their business.

Todd Stave is proving that turnabout is fair play! Ladling out a dose of what these nutjobs live by seems only right when veiled threats are used by these groups to force their beliefs upon others.

I couldn’t speak calmly if I were to make a call like that! But good for Todd Stave! That’s a great idea.

Todd Stave has hit upon a truth that most of us miss – turn their tactics back on themselves. Not that I would advocate killing anyone or hurting their children (although the opposition does not appear to balk at those tactics), however if they are going to conduct a campaign with one’s neighbors, business associates etc, then give it back in spades. It’s about time that these people had a taste of their own medicine – another form of peaceful resistance.

And by the by, that flyer that the so called pro-lifers distributed was disgusting and served no purpose other than to alienate people. I’ve lived in my present home for 37 years, and honestly, if I had received a flyer of that ilk about my neighbor I would be on a search and destroy mission, meaning that I would be searching for the cretin who dared to put this in my mailbox and putting a response in his/hers. I’ve done it before so it’s no problem for me. Tastefully worded of course.

@1: “It never ceases to amaze me” either. Back in the day when I was an active member of NOW-NYS, we’d sign up and take turns “guarding the clinic.” Every Saturday, while the Right-to-Lifers were protesting in front of the clinic with their signs, slogans, and rosaries, we’d be there as well with our signs and slogans. We also escorted women safely from their cars to the door and back as needed. It struck me at the time that if these people really cared about children, they would spend their Saturdays helping out women whose children were more than they could personally handle.

Sophie – bingo! If they really cared about children – but they have proven by their actions that they do not give a hoot about children. Imagine a 12 year old girl, victim of a rapist having to go through their sanctimonious abuse and how about all those children who are in the system who nobody wants to adopt, much less foster. Where are all these people when living, breathing children need help? Whining about their taxes?

I love the phone idea!! Throw the shit right back at ’em.

That’s why I’ve kept this video in my fave on youtube.

I lived in Pensacola when the first bombing occurred at the ladies center on NW 9Th Avenue also two other Doctors offices were bombed where family planning was done and pregnancy termination were also preformed. The girlfriend of one of the bombers was a teller in my mothers office at the credit union.

I Also knew and was friends with the Barrett’s who were shot on July 29th 1994 while escorting Dr John Britton into the same clinic a little more than a year after the March 10Th, 1993, shooting and killing of Dr. David Gunn. Dr Britton and Col. James Barrett (USAF/Ret.)were killed and June Barrett Col. Barrett’s wife was wounded.

The Barretts were active in many local liberal causes most notably P-FLAG (Parents Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) this was how I met these two wonderful people.

I have been touched by the violence these people do and was denied the chance to see my friend’s June and James Barrett from growing older Together. It is a shame such a nice town like mine to be stained by so much hatred and violence.

I am glad there is a way to finally give them back some of their own in a polite way using there tactics.

fuzzy@8: Wow, Didn’t know you had some personal experience with the issue. Did your mom know the girlfriend/teller?

yes she did mom was the loan officer and asst branch manager…

Fuzzy, your friends were probably as incredible as you – must have been if you are their friend. Sadly the people who want to control our every move have no empathy or sympathy for anyone who does not share their viewpoint and are willing to kill to make their cause public. Don’t know why, because every time they do this, they alienate more people, however I’m not a mental health professional so cannot explain their obvious dislocation from reality.
What Todd Stave is advocating is brilliant. Turn their own tactics back on them.
I still cannot believe that 40 years after I chained myself to fences in support of women’s rights and gay rights (it was a simpler time so forgive the lack of inclusiveness) and here we are again, right back at the same place. Fighting ignorance and prejudice is tiring, mainly because it goes on for ever and ever. Can someone please legislate that bigots and hate mongers are prohibited from having children, raising children, being anywhere near children?

fuzzy@10; did the g.f. of the bomber support what the did?
That’s such a tragedy about the Doctor and the Barretts.

Can someone please legislate that bigots and hate mongers are prohibited from having children, raising children, being anywhere near children?

if only…

@13 Fredster, It’s about time isn’t it.The fundies (Catholic and Prot and if one wants to be inclusive, the LDS’s, the fundie Muslims et al) want to decree that I and all my gender are sub human and all of the folks who are not heterosexual are ripe targets for brutalization. Both of us are targets for murder. If they can paint a target on our chests, then let us retaliate and do the same for them. Time to out the maniacs who are targetting us.

Yes they all did and the girls were actually implicated in the bombings they plead to a lesser offense the boy got 10 yrs since only property was hurt…not people…

fuzzy@15: (sigh) Simply incredible.

If they can paint a target on our chests, then let us retaliate and do the same for them.

HT: I hope you meant that figuratively. We don’t need any more violence.

Fredster@16, by now you should know me better. I am a die hard liberal. What do you think?

Oh, please note:
I was going to do a Lounge tonight but time simply got away from me so I’m going to do it tomorrow night. I’ve got some real doozies lined up for the wacky, crazy stuff which is what I like to do for the Lounge. 😆

HT: Oh I know, but just wanted to get that out there. Just sort of covering bases.

Fredster @19, I was rather surprised by your comment, hence my response. Ergo I understand your rationale for asking, however liberals will never, ever advocate violent reaction to anything. That’s not to say that liberals will not fight if the fight is just – my family went to war during the second world one – mind you, they never ever talked about what happened and subsequently drank themselves to death. Maybe being a liberal is not healthy?

HT said: Maybe being a liberal is not healthy? 😆

Cannot be any less healthy than being a conservative; they repress everything!! 😉

Nighty night Fredster. For you, a shot of whatever and a song that my mom used to sing to me – Jeebus I miss her.

Ht@22: g’nite. Try to stop by tomorrow evening.

Fredster and Chloe, I’m here every day. Darn youtube – once I get started, I can’t stop. I’ve become an addict since I have to do all that exercising stuff to get my shoulder to sorta work a little bit like it used to. Anyway, just clicked on this one and thought – well a great thought for us all. Climb every mountain.

HT@24: How is the shoulder doing? Is it responding well with the therapy?

The shoulder is doing well considering it’s only been two months, It will never be the same. the therapist has been terrific. I miss having the use of my left arm to do simple things like chaning a lightbulb in my kitchen overhead fixtures and changing the internal workings of a toilet, however this too shall pass. I will get the use of my arm and shoulder back – not like before, but darn it all, close.
Have you and Chloe made it back to N’Awlins yet? I know that is where your heart is and if you’re not there already – when?
P.S. I miss my Mom every day despite the fact that she passed over 27 years ago. I know you miss Momster too. Holidays are extra hard, aren’t they.

P.S. Fredster, I’ve mentioned before – I have spare rooms. You and Chloe are welcome to come visit. Milly is very good with other dogs as are the cats. Come see Toronto – there’s a lot to do and see within short distances here.

HT@26: No, sadly haven’t made it back yet. I have a couple of doctors’ appointments to do up here. Sadly, I can’t find an internist I even know of, or like back in “da parish”. It’s not that there’s a lack of them on the ppo list, it’s just we don’t have many doctors back yet/still. Most of the docs on the list are either at Tulane Med Ctr/LSU Med Ctr smack in the middle of downtown or else in the uptown part of nola. I kind of want my *primary* doctor to be relatively close by. If I’m sick and feeling crappy, I don’t want to have to deal with fighting downtown, parking decks and the like. So, I’ll take care of a few things here, beforehand. I may have to end up finding a doctor across the lake in Slidell, which is 30 miles away but I’m more likely to find someone there, by word of mouth since a good number of parish residents and doctors relocated over there.

I will get the use of my arm and shoulder back – not like before, but darn it all, close.

Well that sounds good. I guess we all have physical things we used to be able to do that we can’t now. LOL!

I know you miss Momster too. Holidays are extra hard, aren’t they.

Yeah, they’re still kind of on the raw side.

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