Voice of Choice: Turning the Tables on Anti-choice Bullies

VIDEO: Rachel Maddow Talks to Victim of Anti-Choice Bullying Who’s Fighting Back

Rather than be intimidated or back down from this bullying, Todd Stave, owner of the building where Dr. Leroy Carhart practices, chose to give anti-choicers a taste of their own medicine. He started taking down the names and phone numbers of the people who called him in protest and had volunteers call those people back to “thank them for their thoughts and tell them, ‘No, he will not be shutting Dr. Carhart down,'” Rachel Maddow reported last night.

This piece was amended at 3:24 pm on Thursday, July 5th, 2012 to correct the description of Diane Derzis, who is a clinic owner. An earlier version identified her as a clinic worker.

It seemed one of the most unlikely places for an anti-choice protest — a quiet, suburban middle school during back-to-school night. And yet, there they were, pictures of bloody fetuses in hand, and the picture, name, and phone number of Todd Stave, entrepreneur and owner of a Germantown, Maryland building that houses one the most protested clinics in America: the offices of Dr. LeRoy Carhart, of one of the only doctors in America to openly acknowledge that he performs late-term abortions.

This is a fight that is not new to Stave — his father, Carl Stave, was an abortion provider in the era immediately following Roe v. Wade that operated in the very same clinic. The clinic was firebombed and protesters once gathered to demonstrate outside of his father’s house.

But the targeting of his daughter’s school and the subsequent round-the-clock calls to his home were too much for the normally calm, composed Stave, who decided that enough was enough.

Quietly, he collected names and phone numbers of the protesters and he, along with a small group of friends, decided to turn the tables on those who had for so long been allowed to harass and bully without consequence. Thus, Voice of Choice was born.

Today, Voice of Choice has been featured on the Rachel Maddow Show, NPR, and in the Washington Post. Stave has also been honored by NARAL for his work. Its volunteers are ready and willing to calmly and peacefully make calls, send e-mails, and engage in other forms of direct action against the scores of anti-choice bullies who have become more and more emboldened by the increasing attacks on reproductive freedom.

Most recently, the target was Tony Massey of Denver, Colorado. Massey posted several videos of himself harassing a local restaurant as they delivered food to the Denver Planned Parenthood. In the video, he can be heard yelling things such as, “The killers are keeping you busy!” and “Your company benefits off the murder of little boys and girls!” At one point, the camera focuses on the license plates of the car being used to deliver the food. At the end, viewers are encouraged to contact the owners of Udi’s in protest of their support of the “baby killers.” In response, Voice of Choice encouraged their volunteer base to contact Massey to voice their opinion of his harassment. His home address and phone numbers were provided. In return, almost 500 informed Voice of Choice that they had spoken with or left messages for Massey.

In another recent campaign, a protester named Jeff White was confronted after he had been caught on video physically assaulting an Alabama clinic owner named Diane Derzis as law enforcement looked on and did nothing.

In an environment where many organizations have taken a stance of non-engagement, it is shocking to protesters when some one stands up to their bigotry and misogyny. And they often do not enjoy having their own tactics turned against them. Results have been dramatic and almost immediate, with many of the targets ceasing their harassment.

But they can’t do it without volunteers. Stave estimates that his current numbers stand around 10,000, but he is aiming for ten times that, an army so numerous and far-reaching that it will drown out the voices of hate and misogyny and leave in it’s place an environment where the voice for choice is clear and unmistakable.

Voice of Choice can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.

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  • princess-jourdan

    I am very proud of what this man is doing to turn the tables on these psychotic bullies. As a woman who has had an abortion and has publicly spoken about my abortion experience in the media as a former state pageant titleholder, I am all too familiar with just how far over the boundaries of common decency and humanity these bullies will cross in their efforts to shame and intimidate their victims.

    One such anti- choice bully I dealt with–a mother, in fact–stole photos of my family’s young children and my dead grandfather and used them to create a webpage detailing how my family enjoyed having sex with our children and that our deceased relatives were burning in Hell where they are “playing with” my dead aborted fetus. She then began contacting various members of my family to make sure they saw this webpage and made threats against them. The FBI had to get involved in this case. I would be honored to become one of Todd’s volunteers to help stop his psychotic nonsense.

    You can read more about my anti-choice bullying experiences at http://www.princessjordan.org/bullying/princess-jordan-speaks-out-about-bullying.html  And please feel free to share my story with anyone whom you think it might help or benefit in some way. Thank you.
  • h2ogirl

    Bravo to this man!  What a great idea and it’s so refreshing to read how much support he is getting.  So nice for some positive news on the reproductive front for a change.  

  • rebellious-grrl

    I’m sorry that you were bullied. I was bullied as a kid and as a teenager because I was tomboyish. I challenged gender norms and got bullied and beat up. I still carry the emotional and physical scars. Every time I see these anti-choice bullies (or any bullying) I recall the pain. It’s inspirational to see what Tony’s organization is doing.


    It’s time to say enough to anti-choice bullying and all bullying!!! No more!

  • jimthompsonmensrightsvideos

    We won’t stop until Roe v Wade is overturned or nullified on a state-by-state basis.


  • prochoiceferret

    We won’t stop until Roe v Wade is overturned or nullified on a state-by-state basis.


    Racist bigots used to say the same thing about Loving v. Virginia.

  • jennifer-starr

    ‘Bring it on’–very George W. Bush and so typical  of the conservative male–makes you sound tough without actually having to be tough…

  • colleen

    You guys won’t stop untill rape is legal, guys like you can ‘marry’ 4 year olds and human females have the legal rights of barnyard animals

  • crowepps

    Racist bigots STILL say the same thing about the Loving decision —

  • ljean8080

    would have been like?What would you do if you had a child that was disabled?

  • jennifer-starr

    ljean, who is this addressed to and what does it have to do with anything? 

  • crowepps

    I’d suggest you stop trying to score emotional points on people with this question, because unless you are disabled yourself or are parenting a disabled child, you haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about.

  • therealistmom

    But ffs what does this have to do with anything? Are you asking what someone would do if they had a disabled child who was bullied? Or are you trying to drag some stupid emotional appeal about abortions and fetuses with severe disability into this? This is about allegedly grown adults who bully people, including innocent middle school aged children.

    Since I do have a disabled child I feel qualified in telling you bugger off until you have a point.

  • therealistmom

    Women would have fewer rights than barnyard animals- at least there’s laws against bestiality on the books, so they won’t get raped (often).

  • muddy

    are there sites, facebook included, that maintain a list of the baggers that haunt clinics, stalk doctors, & generally harass women choosing to exercise their constitutional, god-given (whomever that is for the spititually inclined) rights to control their reproductive futures? i’m talkin’ addresses, phone numbers, where they shop, where their children go to school, the lot, leaving no stone unturned. with reproductive rights being drastically eroded by the gop-run states, these facists really need to have their tactics returned in kind, because they’re STILL basically getting away with it, be it legal or illegal…