It was no real surprise that anti-choicers protested Germantown Reproductive Services late last year. After all, Dr. LeRoy Carhart had just begun seeing patients at the Maryland clinic, and the provider has long drawn the ire of antis.
But now the protestors have shifted their focus away from Dr. Carhart and onto Todd Stave, the clinic’s landlord, and his family. Antis are standing outside his child’s middle school with graphic signs; they are publicizing his picture, home address, and phone number; and they are deluging his family with phone calls at home.
Anti-choice groups, including Defend Life and the Maryland Coalition for Life, are urging their supporters to contact Todd; unsurprisingly, their websites use incredibly inflammatory language, warning that Maryland could become the late-term child killing capital of the world. So far, though, the antis that are calling have avoided similar rhetoric.
“I wish that everybody that contacts me was this nice,” Todd told me. “They’re very polite, calm, very sweet on the phone.” So he would like to respond in kind, without aggression or threat – but with an overwhelming amount of calls and emails. Todd is putting a campaign together that would, in his words, “call and email each of these ‘concerned citizens’ back. It would be 100 times as thoughtful if each of the people who called or emailed me got 100 calls or emails” that thanked them for their opinions and prayers and informed them that the anti-choice messages contained incorrect information.
Anti-choice protestors have used tactics like harassment and invasion of privacy for years, and they need to know that what they are doing is unacceptable. Not to mention protesting at a middle school, though harassing children in the name of “saving” fetuses might qualify as the definition of irony. Unintended English lesson aside, these people are going after a man is well within his rights to be the landlord of this safe, respected, and established clinic.
If you would like to help Todd Stave and his family, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Todd doesn’t need anything more than an email address, and he’ll keep all information that he receives confidential.
Sarah's first book, Generation Roe: Inside the Future of the Pro-Choice Movement, will be out March 2013. For more information, follow her on Twitter @saraherdreich, or check out saraherdreich.com.