What you should do about anti-choice abortion protesters bringing their campaign to Broadway

A counter message against anti-choice pickets in Seattle (Image: Brady Hall via Shout Your Abortion)

Anti-choice picketers weren’t very successful finding takers for their LGBTQ-mimicking rainbow-colored flyers on Broadway over the weekend. But their presence was disturbing enough.

“We’ve seen an uptick across the country since Trump’s election,” Michelle Farber, organizer and organizer for Seattle Clinic Defense tells CHS about the seemingly incongruous presence of anti-abortion protesters in the midst of Capitol Hill nightlife over the weekend.

Seattle Clinic Defense is dedicated to countering anti-abortion efforts and, Farber says, is actively working to stand up against the latest “40 Days for Life” push and that group’s efforts to “harass and picket outside abortion clinics.” On Saturday, Seattle Clinic Defense says nearly 100 people showed up to help protect E Madison’s Planned Parenthood facility.

The 40 Days group claimed Monday morning that its efforts across the country starting last week have been a success. “So far, our hard-working local campaign coordinators tell us they know of 26 babies whose moms decided at the last minute to reject abortion and choose life!” Shawn Carney, the group’s president, wrote in an update to supporters.

Planned Parenthood has not responded to CHS’s inquiry about recent anti-choice activities in the neighborhood. We also have sent a message to 40 Days for Life organizers.

While we do not know if the picketers seen around Capitol Hill this weekend are directly related to 40 Days for Life, Farber says efforts like the Christianity-focused anti-abortion campaign and messages from the Trump White House are inspiring abortion foes to be more aggressive with their protests.

“This is relatively new for what we’ve seen,” Farber said. “I think people are incredibly emboldened by the current political climate.”

Seattle women’s health and choice advocates, meanwhile, haven’t yet shined a light directly on the 40 Days organization out of concerns that attention might only fuel the effort and its social media and local campaign coordination. But advocates also aren’t standing idly by.

Over the weekend, Seattle-based collective #ShoutYourAbortion responded to the protesters with a message hacked onto the former Lusty Lady marquee.

“We’re in the midst of ’40 days for life,’ a campaign which inspires anti-choice goblins to simultaneously terrorize abortion clinics all over the country,” one organizer wrote in her social media update on the marquee action. “Today they descended on Seattle’s queer spaces and tried to scare people, because the kind of people who hate reproductive freedom also hate queer people for being free.”

Seattle Clinic Defense’s Farber, meanwhile, says you should also speak up — but don’t think that pro-choice victory comes only from confronting “individual right wingers.”

“We think that there’s a lack of a grassroots abortion rights movement and people should get involved to help rebuild that,” she said.

You can learn more about her group at facebook.com/seattleclinicdefense.

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8 thoughts on “What you should do about anti-choice abortion protesters bringing their campaign to Broadway

  1. These folks accosted me, a trans person, at several points on Pike St on my way home on Friday, “respectfully” calling me “sir” and asking if they could share some information with me. I simply told them, “No thanks, I already donate to Planned Parenthood” and kept on walking.

  2. “The kind of people who hate reproductive freedom also hate queer people for being free????” I happen to be a queer person who believes that abortion is murder. Believe it or not, there are many other from the LGBT community who feel the same way. I do not condone violent protests at places such as Planned Parent Hood, but my hope is that one day abortion would become a very rare thing. I’ve have known too many people who have used abortion as their form a birth control.

  3. Wow, it’s a free country. Capitol Hill can’t handle a few protesters it doesn’t like? My goodness, there is a protest every week up here, many are violent. Are they wearing black masks and throwing rocks?

    • Gee. Was this comment some attempt at cramming as many logical fallacies into one paragraph as possible?

      No, there are not “violent protests up here every week.”

      Nobody said they don’t have the right to distribute lies or to demonstrate in public.

      Guess what? Voicing opposition to piles of shit like these religious bigots is also free speech.

      So, you know, go fuck yourself.

    • “Are they wearing black masks and throwing rocks?”

      No, they are attempting usurp personal rights and assert control over the bodies of people, which is a thousand times worse than somebody throwing a rock.

  4. “Today they descended on Seattle’s queer spaces and tried to scare people, because the kind of people who hate reproductive freedom also hate queer people for being free.”

    This is a very sad and close-minded stereotype of the pro-life movement. This movement is about human rights for all, not “hating reproductive freedom.”

    Look into established groups like Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, Democrats for Life, Feminists for Life, Secular Pro-Life, Rehumanize International, and Pro-Life Humanists to get a better idea of what the movement is actually about. It is entirely unfair to lump “pro-life” in with bigoted right-wingers and Trump. Yes, there are parts of the pro-life movement that are harmful and divisive, but it’s just as easy to find the same on the other side of the debate (i.e. the quote above).

  5. I think some of the comments evidenced here, and the speed with which it escalates to nastiness, illustrate one of the drawbacks of living in a bubble like Capitol Hill. It’s easy to get the idea that we all speak in a unified block on issues that are not simple.

    Look, I am very pro-choice and am 110% behind for keeping abortion safe and legal. But I also don’t presume we’re a unified block and everybody needs to be 100% on the same page with this issue. We don’t need to intimidate and drown out dissenting voices. If you’re so weak-willed that someone standing on a sidewalk with an ugly cardboard sign will sway your intended plan to have an abortion, well maybe you *should* step back and think about it some more. I’m not talking about hateful people screaming and intimidating people, but it doesn’t sound like these people were doing that. Chill out, people. Everyone doesn’t think alike on this (see above posts), and name-calling from either side won’t change that.

    • This isn’t a debate over something political, like immigration or healthcare, where both sides deserve a say. These are people that want to assert control over the bodies of women, because it makes them feel self-righteous or something. They should absolutely be shouted down. There is no forum for debate here.

      And further, the current abortion laws allow for anti-abortion people to not have an abortion if they don’t want to, so I don’t get their issue.

      “If you’re so weak-willed that someone standing on a sidewalk with an ugly cardboard sign will sway your intended plan to have an abortion, well maybe you *should* step back and think about it some more.”

      That’s an extremely ignorant thing to say, but it falls in line with the typical “concern troll” comments you make here. You have no idea the emotions going through the head of a woman considering an abortion. Can you imagine trying to walk to a clinic past self-righteous people, who have no right to dabble in your business, shaming you and telling you that “abortion is a hate crime”, while your emotions are running wild?