“Happy birthday, dead baby!” and other charming tactics from “pro-life” clinic protesters

With the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade approaching this Tuesday — happy birthday, Roe! — it’s a safe bet that the anti-choice nutjobs are gearing up to full freakout mode. And sure enough, misogynist-in-chief Rush Limbaugh is “humorously” “recommending” that women seeking abortions carrying them out “with a gun.” What a card ol’ Rush is!

ThinkProgress reports on some of the more obnoxious ongoing tactics of the right-of-lifers who protest outside a women’s clinic in Huntsville, Alabama. Demonstrators’ wacky capers include spraying holy water right in the face of women entering the clinic.

But for me, the tactic that takes the prize was arranging for a children’s choir to serenade entering clinic patients with endless choruses of “Happy birthday, dead baby!” At least one of those on the receiving end of this stunt was a woman who arrived at the clinic because she had experienced an emotionally devastating miscarriage:

Pro-choice marchers recalled a particularly painful event last month when a woman whose baby had died en utero was coming to the clinic to have it removed. In an awful coincidence, that was the day, Watters said, when the pro-life demonstrators collected a children’s choir on the sidewalk to sing “Happy Birthday Dead Baby” to anyone driving in.

“Will had to physically restrain the father,” Watters said, nodding to one of the men marching in a pro-choice jacket. “And by the time she walked through them, she was an emotional wreck.”

It’s always difficult to measure these things, but there is some evidence that suggests that the more restrictive a state’s abortion laws, the more incidents of harassment and violence there are against abortion providers. As the number of state-level laws that are hostile to women’s choice continues to grow in leaps and bounds, this is a particularly troubling trend.

Kathleen Geier

Kathleen Geier is a writer and public policy researcher who lives in Chicago. She blogs at Inequality Matters. Find her on Twitter: @Kathy_Gee