If you regularly read our blog, you know we write frequently about the props the antis carry with them on the sidewalk. There are signs, posters, large and small crosses, paintings, photographs, pamphlets and handouts, DVDs, bibles, rosaries, and plastic fetus dolls. They carry a lot of things to thrust in front of clients and companions on the walk to the clinic.
The one item I have never understood is the plastic fetuses. Did anyone ever change their mind when they saw one? Ever? M spends extended periods of time holding them up in front of car windshields or windows so clients can view them. Other antis carry them and hold them on their palm towards the client saying, “This is what your baby looks like.”
The plastic toys are supposed to be 12-week fetuses. They do not resemble a fetus to me. This is a photo I found of them for sale on Etsy so you can judge for yourself.
The regular antis in front of our clinic all seem to carry them. We have had clients slap the toys out of the antis’ hands; yell at the antis to ‘get that out of my face’ or turn away to look in another direction. I have only seen two clients take the offered toy. Both of them later said they wanted to show them to other people they knew because otherwise they wouldn’t believe it.
When I started writing this article, I tried to find out when these plastic items became a regular in the anti prop boxes. All the Google searches I did came up empty for facts. The posters and photos for the signs started being used in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But I couldn’t find when the plastic dolls started being used. Whenever they started being used, they are popular with the antis.
There has been a lot of controversy concerning their distribution by anti-abortion supporters. In 2003, Virginia Republican State Senator Richard Black sent them to all members of the State Senate. It caused outrage on the part of the Democrats in the Senate. In 2008 Wisconsin Right to Life sent 44,000 of them in the mail to residents in Racine. It wasn’t appreciated by many of the recipients. Then in 2010 a school principal in Norfolk, Virginia handed dolls out to students in his third through fifth grade classes. A minister in Loganville, Georgia handed them out on Halloween 2011 instead of candy. Parents weren’t happy. In spite of the protests by parents and legislators surrounding the use of these dolls, they continue to be distributed.
There have been several people that think they are funny to pose in non-clinic situations. There are websites devoted to photographing them in different costumes and poses. I have seen photos of them on the beach in sunglasses or on a rocket to the moon.
I repeat, did anyone ever change their mind about abortion when they saw a plastic toy? Ever? Did they decide not to have an abortion because their reasons for the choice were negated by an anti holding up a piece of plastic?
REMINDER: Share your story.
January 22, 2013 is the 40th Anniversary of Roe v Wade. Forty years of legal, safe abortions. This invitation comes from our allies at Kentucky Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice:
“KRCRC (is making plans for a January 20 event in Louisville, “The Roe Monologues,” to mark those 40 years (four decades, two generations!) since the Roe v Wade ruling, and we need your help.
We’re looking for your story. But also for your mother’s, your daughter’s, your sister’s, aunt’s, girlfriend’s, roommate’s, friend’s story. Fairly brief; 2 to 5 minutes, and starting with the year. (e.g. “It was 1983, and I was trying to finish up my nursing degree, when I found out I was pregnant.” “In 2008, my wife and I had been trying for several years to have a baby. Now she had finally gotten pregnant, but when we got the results of the amnio, …” “1957. I was living in Missouri, and abortion was illegal. When my roommate learned she was pregnant, …” etc)
On Jan. 20 at our event, we will love it if you will present it yourself. But if it’s bad timing, bad location, or you’d just rather not get up to present it yourself, we will be happy to have someone read it for you. Also, you can use your own name or a made-up name, your choice.
We need these stories! – and people need to hear them. Will you help us? Will you spread the word that we’re looking for these stories?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you think you’d like to participate, either in person or by providing a story for someone else to read.”
By stepping out and talking about our experience we reduce the stigma and shame that surrounds abortion. By sharing our stories, we support each other and continue building a world where reproductive justice is a reality.