The anti-abortion protest that wasn't

Extremist Randall Terry wants to rally folks against healthcare reform, but so far, it's a bust

Published November 24, 2009 8:01PM (EST)

What if you threw a protest and nobody came? Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry did just that in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the first stop on a planned 13-city tour in which Terry intends to inform people that the senate healthcare reform bill "will essentially fund abortions." According to the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, "A few reporters and photographers, Terry and two passersby were the whole rally. Terry's target, U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh and Bayh's entire staff inside the E. Ross Adair Federal Building, were no-shows." "

I'm really not qualified to speculate about what goes on in the minds of anti-choice protesters, but here are a few possible reasons why folks didn't show up for Terry's rally:

1) He's full of crap. As Tracy Clark-Flory wrote in Broadsheet last week, "The key details of the Senate bill are as follows: Both public and private plans are allowed to offer abortion coverage. It empowers consumers to use government subsidies to purchase insurance that covers abortion, but requires that their premiums (and not federal funds) pay for the actual procedures. The Health and Human Services Secretary is charged with evaluating plans to ensure that taxpayers do not pay for abortions."

2) "Taxpayers shouldn't have to fund things they find morally repugnant" is always a weak argument, but it's especially weak right now. I mean, I could give you a list of a dozen things I'm appalled to fund indirectly with my taxes, but these days, do I really need to enumerate any beyond "war" and "other war"? Oh, hell, let's throw in executions, too. Because if you really want anyone to take your "taxes shouldn't fund murder" complaint seriously, we've got a whole lot of dead autonomous human beings to account for at both the federal and state levels before we even begin discussing fetal personhood.

3) Most disturbingly, he's threatening violence, and not even trying to be subtle about it.

"If the U.S. Senate passes this bill and they try and force Americans to pay for child-killing by abortion, they are sowing the seeds of violence in this country," Terry said from the sidewalk in front of the Federal Building.

"We fought a war over slavery, we fought a war over a tea tax. What do people think will happen if they try to force us to pay for murder?"

Um, those most fiercely opposed to murder will start... murdering? Even more than they already have? That sure seems to be what you're saying, there, buddy. And despite a revolting amount of support for the monsters who assassinate abortion providers, most mainstream anti-choicers are not on board with that. At least, not openly.

But please, Randall Terry, do carry on with your campaign to raise awareness about made-up issues. We at Broadsheet wish you every bit as much success as you've already had.


By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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