The groups NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and Progress Texas have obtained audio from a training session held by anti-abortion groups that reveals that those activists track patients, employees and doctors visiting and working at abortion clinics via license plates, physical descriptions and tax records.
On Tuesday, NARAL released the audio of a training session reportedly held at the State Capitol called "Keeping Abortion Facilities Closed" right as the trial for the suit Whole Woman's Health v. Lakey began. That lawsuit was filed to challenge House Bill 2 in Texas, a provision of which will go into effect in September, making it illegal for abortions to be performed anywhere by ambulatory abortion clinics. It will close the practices of all but six legal abortion providers currently working in the state.
In the video, multiple members of various pro-life organizations explain their tactics, revealing that those totally legal pro-life protestors are often actually spies for their bullshit movement. As Karen Garnett of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas explains, those "pro-life protestors are not just protesting" – they "track the women who choose life":
It's totally legal, you track license plates. This way, the license plates are coming into any abortion facility. We have a very sophisticated spreadsheet. This way, you can track whether or not a client comes back, if they've turned away or if they come back. This is not to look for identity on clients – they're not telling you who they are they're not engaging in conversation, but you have license plates, car make,/model, description of the person. But then as far as the staff members, the abortionists, you can identify if you got a new abortionist.
"We've got the sidewalks lined with people," Garnett says. We know.
Then Eileen Romanco of 40 Days for Life chimes in, explaining that they can tell which women cancel appointments because they don't want to drive past the protestors. They've also kept track of the number of people working at abortion clinics who have quit in the past several years and the number of women who ended up not having an abortion – numbers which the group listening to her speak applauded after she read them aloud:
When you're out there everyday, you start learning the street talk. The poorer ones that are going there for abortions, they heard that it was going to close, so they quit going there. They started going to health clinics because they thought it was closed and they didn't have transportation to get there. God is good.
Abby Johnson of LiveAction knows that the pro-life movement has scared pro-choice advocates in Texas this stalking:
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 they want to keep it. We want to keep pressure high on them and letting them know that they can move wherever they want, they can move down the road, they can move to another town in texas – we're still going to be there outside their clinics.
In a statement, Heather Busby, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas's executive director said, "The same groups that lobbied Texas lawmakers to pass HB2, a law that has nothing to do with the health and safety of women, are those outside abortion clinics, harassing and intimidating patients, blocking them from accessing the care they need, and threatening abortion providers. With fewer clinics for these stalking protestors to target, the dangerous impact of their intimidation tactics will be exacerbated." NARAL also rightly wants to emphasize that harassment like this actually leads to numerous deaths – yes death, that thing that these people claim to hate:
Since 1993, four doctors, two clinic employees, one clinic escort and one security guard have been killed by anti-abortion violence. Since 1991, there have been 17 attempted murders.