I just added a new bumper sticker to my Voice of Choice one.
Voice of Choice is doing courageous work in pushing back against the terrorists anti-choice groups like Operation Rescue (I use that loaded word, "terrorist", deliberately since Operation Rescue members have bombed women's clinics, murdered doctors and carried on campaigns of intimidation that extend even to the landlords of women's clinics)
Which is why Voice of Choice was started.
In 2012 Todd Stave rented a building to a physician who performed late term abortions. Anti-abortion protesters held vigils, demonstrated, etc but Stave's response was,
Totally appropriate. It’s their right. They are protected by the First Amendment. And outside the clinic is probably the most appropriate place for them to express their views.So then the anti-abortionists focused on Stave but Stave felt he was tough enough to take it. According to the Washington Post,
his tormentors crossed the line last fall when a big group showed up at his daughter’s middle school on the first day of classes and again at back-to-school night. They had signs displaying his name and contact information as well as those gory images of the fetuses.Throughout this campaign, Stave has used courtesy as his watchword and instructs those who help to always be polite and never engage in arguments. The mere fact that one of the anti-abortion harassers experiences what it is like to be on the other side of the treatment they're dishing out usually stops their bad behavior.
“What parent wants to have that conversation with an 11-year-old on the first day of school?” he fumed.
Soon after that, the harassing calls started coming to his home. By the dozens, at all hours. Friends asked him how they could help. He began to take down the names and phone numbers of people who made unwanted calls. And he gave the information to his friends and asked them to call these folks back.
“In a very calm, very respectful voice, they said that the Stave family thanks you for your prayers,” he said. “They cannot terminate the lease, and they do not want to. They support women’s rights.”
This started with a dozen or so friends, and then it grew. Soon, more than a thousand volunteers were dialing.
If they could find the information, Stave’s supporters would ask during the callbacks how the children in the family were doing and mention their names and the names of their schools. “And then,” Stave said, “we’d tell them that we bless their home on such and such street,” giving the address.
The family of a protester who called Stave’s home could get up to 5,000 calls in return.
“We gave them back what they gave us,” he said.
In answer to the question, "Are Voice of Choice actions effective?"
Very! Most people have who torment others know what they are doing is wrong. If we are able to identify them and hold them accountable for their behavior they usually disappear from anti-abortion activities.
The Voice of Choice website outlines their mission:
Finally, a voice of reason.As someone who has made some of the calls for Voice of Choice, I can tell you that at first, you have a little stage fright. But if you maintain your civility, repeat your message in a moderate voice, ask them to stop harrassing whomever and then politely say goodbye when they start arguing with you, it gives you a real sense of effectiveness.
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.