by Sandy Theis, Spokeswoman for Healthy Families Ohio

Abortion opponents from Operation Rescue have a new, high-tech tool. It’s the successor to the Wanted Posters used  in the past – posters that featured abortion providers and appear to have led to the murders of several of them.  The new tool is a nationwide, online, state-by-state list of providers, complete with physical descriptions, address and other information intended to make them easy to hunt down. Rachel Maddow recently provided a comprehensive history lesson on these tactics. Please take a look at it. She explains it better than I ever could.

These so-called “pro-life” supporters are unashamed of their well-established methods of intimidation. In fact, they are downright proud of them. They insist that the Wanted Posters did not encourage the murders.  They emphasize that the new on-line tool is simply a way to inform the public who is living among them.

I don’t believe that.  Neither do many pro-life supporters. Yet too many pro-life leaders are sitting silently as some of their peers encourage the murder of law-abiding doctors and attempt to limit life-saving health care options for women.  Many of these silent types are faith leaders who normally preach the merits of civility, kindness, tolerance and the Golden Rule. Others are legislative leaders who normally stand up to bullies. Only abortion rights supporters have condemned the tactics.

The silence among pro-lifers comes amid a nationwide effort to limit abortions or ban them out right.  Ohio is among several states facing a back-door plan to ban abortion by asking voters to amend their state constitutions to give a fertilized egg the same legal and constitutional rights as a person.

I am working for Healthy Families Ohio, an organization created for the sole purpose of defeating Ohio Personhood. We believe the consequences of it range from dangerous to ridiculous.

Personhood contains no exception for rape or incest.  It could outlaw some of the safest and most effective methods of birth control. If our shared goal is fewer abortions, why limit contraceptive options?  Personhood has negative economic consequences as well. It could cripple Ohio’s highly acclaimed In Vitro Fertilization industry, hurting not only our economy but also couples who desperately want children and have the determination and financial resources to go the IVF route to get them.

Personhood is a more extreme version of the heartbeat bill pending in the state legislature. It seeks to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The measure is so extreme that it has failed to get support from more mainstream anti-abortion groups.  It is not too extreme for Operation Rescue which piled on this week by debuting billboards replete with mangled fetuses – and the name and contact information for the Senate President, asking supporters to call him and urge its passage.

A majority of Ohio voters support abortion rights. Even many who oppose abortion do not support the heartbeat bill or the personhood proposal.  But the extremists are louder, more willing to incite violence, bully their detractors and use lies, fear and graphic images to get their way.

The rest of us have truth, compassion, reason and numbers on our side.  So if you agree, call or write your legislator and urge defeat of heartbeat, vote for candidates who are like minded, help keep personhood off the ballot by refusing to sign their petitions and urge your clergy – if you have one – to speak out against bigotry, violence and extremism.

  • John

    What I don’t understand is why the ‘pro-choice’ forces do not directly attack the Big Lie that a fetus is an “innocent baby.”  As long as the idea is conceded that a fetus is a “person” — or is a “baby” — or has a soul — the ‘pro-life’ forces always will have the moral high ground.  After all, the only contervailing argument is that the personal liberty of the woman (NOT “mother”) is being infringed. A neutral person giving equal weight to both sides — death of a “baby” versus some restraints on personal liberty — will err on the side of saving the “baby.”

    The way I see it, only by strenuously attacking the underlying concept —  forcefully stating that a fetus is not a “baby” and that the persons who promote the idea are liars — can we move the moral argument in the other direction.

    OF COURSE, people are entitled to have the RELIGEOUS belief that a fetus is a person with a soul, but the First Amendment clealy prohibits the government from imposing that dogma on the rest of us.  Following this line of reasoning, even an Ohio constitutional ‘personhood’ amendment would not prevail over the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

    Regarding the ‘extra-legal’ thug behavior of the ‘pro-life’ criminals, with their “wanted” posters, etc.,  more effective counter measures need to be implemented… 

  • All these right wingers attacking women’s reproductive rights makes me sick.  The entire Komen move to stop providing support to Planned Parenthood is disgusting. If you have a few extra bucks or more, make sure you send a check to Planned Parenthood.  Do something to piss off the right wingers!  Planned Parenthood does so much to help women’s health that it is sad to see them losing any support. Until  Komen fixes this, we will not be supporting their organization.  I have, however, already sent my check to Planned Parenthood.

  • And even though no Democrat voted for the heartbeat bill, there are several Ds who voted FOR anti-choice legislation this past year.  At least one of those is facing a primary from a pro-choice candidate.  That being said, we should support the pro-choice candidates for office.

  • What people need to understand, yet will either fail to talk about or outright deny, is right-wing antipathy towards women. They flat-out want to relegate women to the status of the property of men. All of their measures are aimed towards this goal. And if you support any component of their agenda, you are a supporter of ALL their agenda.

    Keep it up. Pretty soon, a dog will have more legal protections than a woman will.

  • Xx

    So what makes you think you have the “political rights” to tell others what they can do with their own body?   That is bullshit and you know it.

  • Anonymous


    Over 50 percent of abortions are the result of poverty and/or the immaturity of the mother. 

    The perception most have of pro-lifers is they don’t want to deal with the underlying reasons abortions occur.  They just want to outlaw it and for some strange reason at that point, their consciences will be  clear, though, the problem will still exist.

    Because the Republican Party is determined to un- and underfund help for young mothers, just exacerbates the problem.  The recent attacks against Planned Parenthood funding in Congress is a prime example.

    I wonder how your mother and wife felt about the Equal Pay for Equal Work  (Lilly Ledbetter) bill that the president signed into law.  If I remember correctly, with few exceptions, the Republicans in Congress were overwhelmingly against it.  This could be perceived as an attack on women, don’t you think?

  • buttrfli60

    The GOP wants small govt, but they want to legislate the body of the individual. More, they want to give rights over the body of an individual to another “person”. That is akin to slavery. If they are really pro-life, they will be pro-birth control. No woman that never got pregnant had an abortion. If they are not pro-birth control, they are not really pro-life. They are just anti-sex.

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