Props Antis Use

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.

Little One
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 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.

13 thoughts on “Props Antis Use

  1. I have been perusing this blog for hours now! I finally have an explanation for the weird fetus that is in my office. We don’t know how it got there, but we all take turns hiding it in weird places. Once you stumble upon the fetus, it’s your turn to move it somewhere else for the next person to find. I never made a connection to anti-choice props before this!

    • Stacie,

      That is really funny: hide and seek with a fetus doll. Glad we could clear its origins up for you!


  2. I do not understand the controversy over the fetal model (it is not a “doll” ). In grade school, high school and college I have been shown these – and not necessarily by pro-lifers. For example, in A&P we had anatomy models available to us. This is basic biology, folks, and the picture you showed is indeed correct for that stage of human development.

    • Luckymama,

      Did you read the article? The controversy is the fact these plastic dolls are used in an attempt to shame clients going to the clinic. Plain and simple. You call them a model. When you look at the pictures for different times of development, they do not match in size and development. Unless you believe, like the antis, that all clients are at the same stage in their pregnancy it is a prop used only for intimidation.

      Thank you,

  3. Speaking of props antis use . . . .

    Christmas seemed to be prop, caroling and empty mangers.

    I had no idea that they did this, what a corruption of the holiday –
    Pro-Life Action League’s annual “Empty Manger” Christmas Caroling Day at abortion facilities in Chicago and the western suburbs.
    . . . this year’s 10th annual “Empty Manger” Christmas Caroling Day on Saturday, December 22.
    . . . Last year, 130 carolers participated in this annual event, and similar caroling tours were held at abortion facilities throughout the country . . .
    Two simultaneous caroling tours will take place the morning of December 22, one visiting five abortion facilities in Chicago and the other visiting four in DuPage County.

    The props antis use!

    • Oubli,

      I didn’t know they went caroling at abortion clinics. How strange. We have displays of toys for the holiday. The words are, ‘Just think, you could have toys like this under the tree next Christmas.’ We get singing too, but not organized “tours” of antis caroling.

      Thanks for your input,


  4. Oh yeah, I’ve gotten those before. I gave them to my friend’s kid to add to her doll set.

    I’ll be sending in my story for sure. If I had unlimited money, you could bet I’d be flying around the country to do things like this.

    • Longtail,

      I am glad you will be sending your story in. We need to share stories to help remove the stigma. I wish we could afford to fly you in, but we are limited in money also. Please accept our invitation to visit us in Louisville any time you are in our area. We would love to meet you.


      • Thank you very much! I try to share my story whenever it’s safe for me to do so. It’s so frustrating being silenced with the threat of violence.

        I really do hope to be able to travel out there one day. I would dearly love to meet you all as well. 🙂

  5. Oh my gosh, those fetus photos remind me of the traveling garden gnome LOL. Also thanks for the notice about the Jan. 20th event. I cant be there myself, but I might send in my story. I had a pregnancy after tubal, of all things, a true, WTF series of days after that discovery, let me tell you.

    • Linda,

      They remind me of the traveling garden gnome too. Some of them I have seen are really creative.

      Please send your story in. There will people who have volunteered to read stories for those who cannot attend or prefer not to read. I’m sure you were surprised after the tubal!

      Thank you,

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