Tag Archives: harassment

The Right Uses the State to Harass Abortion Providers

28 Jun

A guest post by Peg Johnston, an independent abortion provider in New York State and member of the Abortion Care Network.

It’s official, the antis have found a way to use public funds to wage their campaign against abortion providers. (Or ANOTHER way, I should say, since funding for their propaganda centers and abstinence education is sizeable, but this is more direct.) Their first target, ironically, is Whole Woman’s Health, arguably one of the best clinics in the U.S. Not surprisingly, the state they have manipulated is Texas, one of the worst states in which to offer women abortion services. Says Amy Hagstrom Miller, CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, “I feel like I live in another country where abortion is illegal.”

Here’s how it works: the anti-abortion folks make complaints to various state agencies, anonymously of course, triggering an inspection –many inspections. If you work in a hospital or nursing home or any medical setting you know that a 100% perfect inspection is a rarity. There are always little nitpicky things that you could get caught on, none of which have anything to do with quality patient care. But a spontaneous inspection is its own form of harassment. And in these times more importantly, the state of Texas is nearly bankrupt; the taxpayers should be fighting mad about state agencies wasting time and money on an anti-abortion fool’s errand. But of course, this is Texas we’re talking about.

So, when this story comes to your attention, don’t for a minute think that the abortion clinic is doing something shady. They are not. In the light of the hideous conditions revealed by the investigation of Philadelphia based Dr. Kermit Gosnell, you might understandably be suspicious. The difference there is that the state of Pennsylvania failed to inspect. Had they kept up with regular scheduled inspections women might have been protected from Gosnell’s illegal and substandard practices.

The weight of state scrutiny is considerable but in places like Texas it can also be capricious. Not only is it burdensome, but when the state suddenly shows up it can make you feel like you’re doing something wrong—particularly when anti abortion websites try to make something over a labeling error or other non-patient care issue.

Always remember that the anti-abortion extremists are trying to stigmatize abortion providers. Don’t assume abortion providers are doing bad things. And if this state sponsored harassment of abortion providers comes to your state, call your representative to protest the waste of state funds. Abortion providers are all for inspections—exactly what any medical facility can expect, and not more. But the taxpayers should not be paying for the state to do the bidding of the anti-abortion movement.

Ralph Lang, Attempted Anti-Choice Terrorist

28 May

Thank God, or Lady Luck, or whomever you like: yesterday reports went out of a man arrested BEFORE he murdered a law-abiding doctor, instead of after.

The quick details: Ralph Lang, 63, drove up to Madison with a gun with the clear intention of murdering at least one abortion-providing doctor, and possibly other nurses and employees. His handgun discharged while he was at a motel, and the police were called. Upon hearing his plans, he was taken into custody.

I’m so thankful that Lang’s gun went off in his motel room. I’m also thankful he wasn’t “100 percent in sync with God” when he was in Madison last week and didn’t kill anyone. I’m thankful that he didn’t get to go to the clinic, “line [the employees] up all in a row, get a machine gun, and mow them all down” as he said he wished he could.

The other information you should know: Ralph Lang is not a “lone wolf” or a “fringe member” of the antichoice “pro-life” community. He is a sidewalk counselor (read: harasser) and was arrested previously in 2007 outside of a Planned Parenthood. He was part of a Catholic prayer vigil (read: more sidewalk harassment) in 2006, at which time he said, “it’s nice to be a part of a movement like this.” I’m sure as we learn more details we will see more connections between Ralph Lang and well known anti-choice groups.

Of course, Lang’s language is gleamed from common anti-choice propaganda. He planned “to lay out abortionists because they are killing babies”- words used by many so-called peaceful anti-choicers. These ‘peaceful’ antis claim they don’t actually want anyone hurt, yet continue to repeat these phrases until they’ve convinced someone- like Ralph Lang, or Scott Roeder- to do the dirty work for them. When they call doctors murderers over and over and over again, they set the kindling and strike the match for others to take those words and follow through with them.

It’s long past time for antichoicers to stop their violent rhetoric. It was long past time two years ago, when Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church. It was long past time in 1998 when Dr. Slepian and a security guard were killed, in 1994 when two clinic receptionists, Dr Britton and an escort were killed, in 1993 when Dr. Gunn was murdered. It’s been nearly 20 years of murders- when will anti-choicers actually take a prolife stance and stop the violence?