Written by Carole Joffe forRH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.
“Such hypocrites! They
don’t like getting unwanted calls at home!”
In an irony that he clearly relishes, Todd Stave, a Maryland entrepreneur, is telling me about the abortion opponents who contacted him and asked that he suspend the phone campaign he initiated against them.
Stave is currently the subject of a certain amount of buzz in the abortion rights community, after his appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show
. He came to Maddow’s attention because of his innovative, some would say ingeniously simple, way of responding to harassment from anti-abortionists. Stave is the owner of the property in College Park, Maryland on which sits the clinic building rented by Dr. Leroy Carhart, a longtime Nebraska abortion provider and former associate of the late George Tiller. After Tiller’s assassination, Carhart became a leading target of antiabortion forces, especially so when he began recently began performing later abortions in Maryland. (His move was a result of Nebraska legislation
, targeted specifically at him, that banned abortions after 20 weeks). Besides vociferous protests
at the site of the clinic itself, abortion opponents showed up on Parents’ Night
at the middle school of Stave’s daughter. Brandishing signs with the usual mangled fetuses, as well as Stave’s name, photo and phone number, the protestors urged people to call him and ask that he “stop the child killing.”
Stave was no stranger to anti- abortion activity. His father, the late Carl Stave, was himself an abortion provider in the same community in the period immediately following Roe
and was the recipient of protests as well, including a firebombing of his clinic. His son took these earlier protests quietly. But showing up at his daughter’s school was too much for him.