Dr. Leroy Carhart, once of America’s few later term abortion providers, has recently announced he will opening three new clinics across the country. The anti-choice reaction to the news has been typical, for the most part.
But when reporter Amanda Hess interviewed anti-abortion activist Jack Ames, an interesting thing occurred. His detailed plan of attack reveals the very blueprint of how anti-choice organizations like Operation Rescue, Pro-Life Action Ministries, or Operation Save America, begin to harass a clinic, its employees, and its patients away from being able to provide women with safe and legal abortions.
Most notable is their flyering regime, meant to invade a doctor’s privacy, scare them away from the clinic and attempt to make them feel unsafe in their surroundings. As Hess writes at TBD.com:
Leafleting. “An abortionist has got to live somewhere,” says Ames. Once Ames’ crew identifies an abortion provider, “We’ll leaflet his neighborhood. We’ll tell his neighbors that hes’ an abortionist, he’s a baby killer,” he says. “And abortionists don’t like that.”
Portraiture. Ames says that a graphic presentation on these fliers is essential. “When you see the guy who might be the abortionist, you snap a picture of him, share it with some friends,” Ames says. “This is perfectly legal, getting their pictures. We can then use that picture to let their neighbors know who this abortionist is and where he lives.”
Signage. “Sometimes it works to just put big signs on our cars—those light-up signs you put on top, like Domino’s Pizza,” Ames says. “Then you just drive through the neighborhood. It’s a variation on leafleting.”
These are the basic tactics behind the “Wanted” posters that just got anti-abortion activist Flip Benham probation last week, for criminal stalking, but doesn’t seem to be deterring the rest of his co-horts.
The rest of Ames’s protests, and that of other anti-choice activists, although distasteful, at least revolve around the clinic itself, be it sidewalk “counseling,” graphic posters, and “conversion.” Those tactics can at least be somewhat perceived as an attempt to try and persuade a woman down a different path, even if they really are just basic harassing of clients. But the “identification and leafletting” portion of their plans is much more sinister, as it simply exists to take away the woman’s choice all together by removing the one person who can provide a safe abortion.