The Anti-Abortion Protester Blueprint

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

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.

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Hillary B.
Hillary G. B7 years ago

Thank you to Natasha Long for your informed and articulate posts on this issue. I am so glad to see some assertions made that are well supported with evidence that lets reason prevail.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

All you anti-choice people need to realize that choice is a woman's right under law. A woman is a citizen with rights. As a pro-choice woman who fought years for our medical rights over our bodies to continue, and not be rescinded, I have never denied that what grows inside the female is alive -- but it is not a citizen with rights. Adult women should absolutely have control over their own bodies, each of us. That means that you make the decision of whether you want to continue a pregnancy or not, and I will make the same choice over my body. You do not make the decision for me. Different women have many different reasons for wanting to have a child or not. It is no one's business to dissect my choice.

Thank god for Roe vs Wade so that women can have the option of a SAFE abortion. And thank god for doctors like Dr. Carhart, who give us that option. He should not be singled out for persecution any more than any other M.D. In fact, in these crazy days, he has my respect and admiration.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago


Natasha Long
Natasha L7 years ago

@ Amber M: "I would want to know if there was a child murderer on my street."

I agree. If there was a CHILD murderer on my street, I would want to know about it. I wouldn't want my CHILDREN murdered.

If there were some nutter who attacks pregnant women, I would want to know about it.

If there was a gynecologist who performs a perfectly legal operation to terminate a pregancy, my only worry would be that he might attract nutters, who think he's some kind of murderer, to the area.

Heather A.
Heather A7 years ago

No, Cat, the comparison is my own. That shouldn't have been too difficult to spot.
I said that I have no more of an obligation to keep a pregnancy for you than I have to get pregnant for you. I did not say that you wanted me to get pregnant for you. I compared your expectation for women with unwanted pregnancies to an obviously unreasonable hypothetical expectation in order to demonstrate that your expectation is equally unreasonable. I never claimed that the unreasonable hypothetical expectation was yours. That also shouldn't have been difficult to understand. You should read people's comments more closely before replying.

Della P.
Della Pangborn7 years ago

There is nothing in the bible about abortion, except as done by God himself when he wiped out pregnant woment along with everyone else. If my daughter were raped or her life was in danger by having to carry to term, I would have no problem making the decision to save her life rather than just a tiny blob of protoplasm - basically some sperm that has united with an egg (or even a fully developed fetus). If God was that concerned about fetuses, how come 25% to 31% of pregnancies result in SPONTANEOUS ABORTION (or miscarriage, if you will.)

Amber M.
Amber Beasley7 years ago

as much as I want to see abortionists sent to a small deserted island in the middle of space for the rest of their lives, these kind of attacks are not the way to handle this. well except maybe telling the neighbors. I would want to know if there was a child murderer on my street.

Natasha Long
Natasha L7 years ago

@ Roseanne G "Did those same scientists have a conversation with the "Foetuses" to be sure they weren't feeling any pain until 24 weeks?"

See, there you are showing your lack of knowledge about science. No they didn't 'have a conversation' because those foetuses couldn't talk. The Royal College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians (in the UK where you don't pay for every procedure, so they don't stand to make millions from it) undertook a massive study on a healthcare basis to investigate whether or not foetuses feel pain. They reviewed the methodology and results of hundreds of studies and found that the connection between the periphery and the cortex does not fully develop until after 24 weeks. This connection is required for the sensation of pain to be registered. Therefore pain is not felt.

Read for yourself.

And to call me blinkered because I listen to scientists who are RENOWNED for not saying "This is absolutely proven beyond all doubt." is very rich considering you are coming at it from a religious standpoint!

Rosanne G.
Rosanne G7 years ago

Natasha, your posts are very rude. Shout all you want. Guess I touched your NERVES now that you were given the opportunity to grow inside your mother’s womb & eventually live outside that same womb. Why don't you try living outside the box of tunnel vision? You evidently believe everything you read from your renowned scientists. That’s a shame. I wonder what happened to you to make you so cynical. You'll have to stop being so abrasive & verbally abusive on these polls as that shows your arrogance & intolerance; those problems are yours. You are quite disrespectful of other people's opinions

When I was trying to conceive, my gynecologist told me that injecting dye into my tubes shouldn't hurt because there were no nerve endings. ALL LIES. It hurt like crazy & it caused severe cramps for 24 hours. He must have used the “scientifically proven” methods of which you speak. This is the same OBGYN that told me that it would be better for me to get my tubes tied than my husband to have a vasectomy. He had an article that “scientifically proved” that it causes hardening of the male arteries & high blood pressure & stops a normal bodily function, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Those scientists & that doctor believe that stopping a woman’s bodily function by way of major surgery & lengthy recuperation time is much better. Yes, the Almighty Penis must not be disturbed because scientists say so.

Rosanne G.
Rosanne G7 years ago

Natasha, "scientifically proven", in your opinion is the end result justified by what means? Did those same scientists have a conversation with the "Foetuses" to be sure they weren't feeling any pain until 24 weeks? Are these the same scientists that experiment on innocent animals as to determine the effect on humans? Are you so absolute in your theories & your scientists that you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that life & nerve endings don't begin at conception? By your way of thinking, all those who are paraplegic or quadriplegic should be aborted from this society because they can't feel it anyway & they can't survive on their own. I will pray for your hard heart & your scientists & your pro-abortion stance. As for me & my house, we'll give that tiny human the benefit of the doubt. Fetuses, cells, embryos, babies all deserve the Right to Life.