Imagine the geyser of insanity that would erupt if gun control activists began to actively track gun owners and dealers via their license plates. Well, it appears as if anti-choice, anti-abortion activists are doing exactly that to so-called "abortionists." Actually, "stalk" is too mild a word. This sounds more like surveillance and intimidation.
During a "Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed" training session, pro-choice activists secretly recorded audio of Texas anti-abortion advisers discussing how to keep tabs on anyone who visits a family planning clinic, as well as the staffers there. Karen Garnett, executive director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, was recorded saying:
We are committed to having counselors and prayer partners at every abortion facility, all hours when abortions are being performed. And part of that is so that we can track, um, we can track the number of women who choose life, the number of mothers who choose life. We can also track who works there. Who is your abortionist. How do we know who had privileges. Well, you do that it's totally legal to track license plates. Right, so this way license plates that are coming into any abortion facility, we have a very kind of sophisticated little spreadsheet, everybody keeps track. This way you can track whether or not a client comes back, if they turned away, or if they come back. Not revealing identity on clients, they're not telling you and don't engage them in conversation. You have license plates, car make, model, description of the person. Then as far as the staff members and the abortionists, you can identify if you got a new abortionist. The number of canceled appointments because they don't want to drive in, that's one impact.
Another activist named Abby Johnson said via the clandestine recording:
These abortionists are feeling the pressure from the pro-life movement in Texas. I think they feel like they’re on the run. And that’s how we want to keep it, we want to keep pressure high on them and let them know they can move wherever they want … We're still gonna be there outside their clinics, we're still gonna be praying, we're still gonna be sidewalk counseling, and we're still gonna be exposing what's going on inside these buildings.
Of course the irony here is that these discussions about tracking "abortionists" were secretly recorded.
Ultimately, I'm not so sure the anti-abortion activists will really mind the idea of this information getting out. They're really seeking to intimidate women and reproductive health workers more than anything else, and this accomplishes it nicely. We're watching you, so unless you want your personal health choices observed by radical protesters, you'd better stay away. This adds to the above-boards methods of intimidation and coercion being legislated across the country: from transvaginal ultrasounds to clinic closures to fetal heartbeat laws and other archaic rules meant to ban abortion without outright forbidding it.