Roundup: 40 Days for Life – Legalized Harassment of Women

Robin Marty

It's time for 40 Days For Life, where harassment of women isn't just condoned, it's encouraged!

Ahhh, once again it is time for 40 Days of Life, the nearly six weeks of the year where harassing women is not only considered totally ok, but encouraged by anti-choice factions.

We’re only two days into the event, and already we’ve seen yelling, intimidation, and at one clinic an assault via holy water.  And we still have weeks to go.

And of course, the media loves to cover it.  From WAPT Jacksonville:

About 50 people stood in front of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization on North State Street on Wednesday. They sang hymns and held up signs protesting abortion.Anti-abortion activist Amy Martin said she regrets the abortion she had when she was 16.”My baby would be 27 today. That’s not much of a blob of cells. That’s a full-grown person who probably would’ve had a spouse and maybe children by now. It wasn’t just a blob of cells. It was a whole line of my family tree,” Martin said.

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The activists in Ohio also claim this is nothing but prayer vigil, not intimidation.  From the News and Sentinel:

Diane Strippel, of 40 Days for Life, from New Martinsville, said the volunteers from Marshall and Wood counties began a vigil outside the building in Vienna where Planned Parenthood has its offices. She said the vigil that began Wednesday will be peaceful with plans to be there until Oct. 31.

“We are not here to condemn any women who come here,” she said.

Strippel said they are asking people to join them on Grand Central Avenue as well as praying in their churches and homes to stop abortion.

“We are calling on God to bring out prayer warriors to pray 12 hours a day for 40 days – the facility in Vienna refers for abortions and gives out the ‘morning after pill,’ which causes an abortion if the woman in pregnant,” she said. “We are not sure if they deal with RU 486.”

Strippel said they plan to have a constant vigil during the open hours of Planned Parenthood five days a week and if possible have a vigil there seven days a week.

But InForum, the Fargo, ND newspaper, manages to actually touch on the cost that these protests have on both the women trying to ontain services and those who provide them.

As for the organization at which the protests are actually aimed, Clinic Director Tammi Kromenaker sees the protests as an intimidation tactic.

“I think its harassment,” she said, standing on the sidewalk with escorts and protesters.

Kromenaker said she’s concerned for her patients “having to walk through a large crowd of angry, harassing protesters.”

Colleen Samson, a 40 Days for Life North Dakota board member, sees the protests differently.

“Our goal is to be peaceful and prayerful. It is never our desire to harass anyone,” she said.

For her, it’s a matter of life and death.

“The truth is, babies are dying every week in this building,” she said.

But Kromenaker believes if people protested another business in the manner in which the clinic is being protested, some changes would be made to prevent it.

Still, if you want to really understand what is going on at these clinics during the 40 Days protests, it’s best to go to live coverage coming out via twitter.  Perhaps most disturbing?  This tweet:

Who wants to tell the “40 Days for Life” protesters that the patient they harassed might have cervical cancer?

The Aiken Area Progressive puts it quite succinctly:

What the anti-choicers are doing between now and Halloween is nothing more than a legalized form of street harassment. They are not at these clinics to protest. The anti-choicers are there to intimidate and harass women. Nothing else. Imagine if misogynist men had planned a 40 Days of Catcalling and Boob-Grabbing or the like. It would get shut down before it could even start.

Mini Roundup: It looks like the effects of the failed override for New Jersey’s family planning funds are already hitting the state, as a clinic closes due to lack of funding.

September 22, 2010

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