That seems like an awfully inflammatory headline for what is basically record keeping. Worse, their methodology assumes the woman uses the same car every visit, not that she drives herself down for the consultation but then has her husband drive for the actual procedure in his car. The anti-abortion group here might very well count that as two successes instead of a single “failure”.
Also, they are counting successes of women who were discouraged from getting abortions but who’s kids were then stillborn or die shortly after childbirth from the medical condition that made the mother want to go for the abortion in the first place.
Activist group uses poor record-analysis technique to boost their apparent success rate. News at eleven…
I live about a block from one of the north Texas clinics where this group does this. I see them every day when I walk my dog. While it’s not the screaming protesters or graphic signs I’ve seen elsewhere, it’s pretty creepy to see this all on a day-to-day basis. They hang out all day in the alley behind the clinic. Some hide behind a fence, taking notes on everyone who enters or exits, and writing down the license plate numbers and descriptions of all the cars. I believe they sometimes photograph people and cars as well.
Under any circumstance, it’s unnerving when a stranger is photographing you and recording as many details about you as possible, like your description, license plate, etc. It’s even creepier knowing the tactics that anti-abortionists have employed, from harassing people at work, handing out fliers to these people’s neighbors, or posting signs in their neighborhoods. And that’s to say nothing of the Dr. Tiller type situations. Some of them keep dog treats on hand to lure the many people walking dogs over into conversations. Some of them are nice and polite. Others are a bit aggressive. About half are just plain weird, like they have genuine mental or emotional problems. Those ones are the creepiest and actually bother me more than the aggressive ones. Today, one guy is holding a pretty miserable looking toddler that he uses as a prop in his pro-life speech. It’s Texas, it’s hot as heck, and I feel bad for that kid. At the very least, I wish the kid had a hat to shade his face from the relentless summer sun.
Every now and then someone calls the cops. They show up, ask why the people are writing down license plate numbers, etc. They give vague answers. Then the cop shrugs his shoulders and tells the caller, “Listen, there is nothing illegal about writing down a license plate number, or the descriptions of people or their cars. Sorry.” The cops nicely ask the protesters to stop, which they don’t, then leave.
There’s nothing illegal, or really, anything too dramatic that happens. It’s more of just a constant creepy presence, especially when they bring out the big crucifix and all put red duct tape on their mouths. They essentially act like stalkers. If you can imagine what it would be like to live next to an alley where a group of stalkers meet every day to just hang out together, that’s basically what it’s like to live where I live. You can’t really point to anything they’re doing “wrong” but it’s just uncomfortable to always have people nearby who are recording your every move in the neighborhood.
I’ve held a pet theory for a long time that anti-choice activists are primarily childless people (not by choice) or people well past child bearing years with entirely too much time on their hands to meddle in other people’s lives. Compiling databases of the women who seek legal medical care fits rather well with my theory.
One thought that always strikes me whenever I see them is how do they afford life? They’re there all day, every day. They can’t have full-time jobs. Does someone pay them to be there? Some could be retirees on fixed incomes. Do they live off spousal income? Without a doubt, the “regulars” dedicate an incredible amount of time in doing this. It’s an 8am-5pm commitment six days a week (they seem to skip Sundays, presumably, they’re at church, or maybe the clinic is just closed that day). For the most part, they just stand in the alleyway for hours and hours on end. I’d go nuts doing absolutely nothing but just standing there for as long as they are.
Might I suggest Guy Fawkes masks and rental cars all around?
About 10 years ago I volunteered weekly as an escort at a Planned Parenthood clinic. One of the protester groups would keep track of license plates. I came in one week and the head protester told me my name and my address, which I assume they got based on my license plate. It spooked me. Thankfully, I also knew someone with access to the DMV database. The next week, I recited all their names (or the names the car they came in was registered to) and addresses. They did not like having the same tricks played on them, not one bit.
This is nothing new, back in 2000 when I was in college a friend of mine borrowed my car to take her friend to the doctor. About 2 weeks later my dad called me and told me he had received a letter in the mail informing him that my car was seen visiting an abortion clinic in town.
My dad (a very conservative good-ole-boy Texas Republican doctor) was pissed that they sent him the letter, and called the director of the group to ream them out about invading other people’s private medical business and basically threatening them with a HIPAA violation since they had revealed a confidential medical visit to someone who was not a legal guardian or hired attorney.
I was very proud that day.
I bet the looks on their faces were priceless.
I approve. Wider use of what I call a “mirror tactic” (aka, do the same to the adversary using his own methods) can do a good job here.
Some activist groups just full of it , and this is most certainly one of them
Sounds like they’ve already gone nuts.
We have a very sophisticated spreadsheet.
It’'s only a matter of time before they discover databases
Well done on all accounts. I wonder if there’s a way to setup a website for people to stalk the anti-abortion nutjobs in order to do exactly what you did. Someone gathers the necessary data of protesters, submits it to the site, info is returned on addresses and other salient bits.
About 667,000,000 results (0.33 seconds)
Does seem to require a rather small brain to have not made that leap.
I agree that “mirror tactics” might be the best way to combat them-- if what they are doing is not technically illegal, then anyone can do it back to them.
Legally a woman can go to Planned Parenthood for whatever procedure is necessary there, but some people don’t want them to have that right, and try to circumvent the law in technically legal ways. It’s like if you didn’t want people driving down your street, so you found some technically legal way to make drivers think it was a private drive or closed to through traffic. There is something obviously wrong and undemocratic about that.
Jandrese, I volunteer as a clinic escort. It’s not “record keeping” when an anti makes a show out of walking over to your car and taking down the license plate number; it’s creepy.
Otherwise, I agree with your post.
Maybe lots of volunteer decoy visitors? People who aren’t quite up for escort duty might be ready to do that.
Everyone could just stop there every day, say for five minutes.
I’m not really clear on the ‘nothing illegal bit’ though. Is the license/address database fully open to anyone in the US?