The Rockin Johnny B

Monday, November 11, 2013

An eye for an eye...the time has come...

Anti-choice protesters tend to be bullies and one man figured out how to push back. In 2011, the owner of a building that houses a Maryland reproductive health services clinic decided to take matters into his own hands after a mob of anti-abortion protesters harassed him and his family one too many times. With the help of a group of friends and community members, a new pro-choice movement was founded. Delightfully, it’s based on the idea of “do unto others as they have done unto you.”

The building he now rents was firebombed by dangerous extremists decades ago.

Todd Stave, the owner of the building that houses the Maryland clinic, grew up in the shadow of the debate over women’s reproductive choices. His father originally owned and operated the clinic that Stave now rents to others. In an interview with the Washington Post he described seeing protesters outside his home at an early age. The building he now rents was once firebombed by dangerous extremists decades ago.

Stave finally decided he’d had enough of the radical protesters.

Stave’s personal information has been displayed on posters and fliers, his address and phone number shared over the internet. He and his family have been harassed by angry protesters and hateful extremists, both in person and over the telephone, at all hours of the day and night. It wasn’t until the anti-choice protesters showed up at his daughter’s middle school, waving signs with his name and contact information along with the bloody pictures of mangled fetuses, that Stave finally decided he’d had enough.

With the support of his community, Stave came up with a plan. He turned the tables on the vicious anti-choice movement, using their own tactics against them. Collecting names and personal information of the sign carrying protesters, he organized a team who began giving the crazed protesters a taste of their own medicine.

Voice of Choice has grown to include thousands of members and volunteers, from all across the country.

Unlike the people who harassed his family, Stave’s group does not resort to threats or hysterics. They may mention the name of the person’s child, their school or even their street address, but always in the context of a polite conversation. Since first forming just over two years ago, the group, now known as Voice of Choice, has grown to include thousands of members and volunteers, from all across the country. They use e-mail, telephone and social media to respond to harassing callers and hate spewing protesters, sometimes returning as many as 5,000 phone calls on behalf of a person who is being harassed by anti-choice fanatics.

“If you hit me I will hit you back.”

“I like to tell people that I developed my strategies when I was on the playground in grade school. Basically, if you hit me I will hit you back. And while we have had great success turning the tables on those who were used to acting with impunity, the reality is that people from both sides of the abortion argument admire the civility in the way we make our point,” Stave wrote on the one year anniversary of Voice of Choice.

Voice of Choice is a necessary counter-movement to anti-choice protesters.

Given the level of extremism often displayed by anti-choice protesters, Voice of Choice is a necessary counter-movement. The group defends the rights of women and those of the people who support them. To volunteer or lend your support to the movement, visit Voice of Choice web-site here. The group also has a Facebook page, which you find here and a twitter account, here.

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