The Darling of Anti-Choice

Danze's Planned Parenthood clinic boycott backfires

| April 29, 2004

Chris Danze has stepped ahead of the procession of anti-abortion activists who merely picket clinics and wield posters of dead fetuses. The devout Catholic from the Lone Star state 'has organized a boycott of building suppliers -- including air-conditioning, drywall, electrical, heating, and plumbing subcontractors -- that halted the construction of a 10,000 square foot Planned Parenthood facility in Austin for two-and-a-half months,' writes Eleanor Bader, co-author of Targets of Hatred: Anti-Abortion Terrorism. Danze sent two letters to 700 trades people all working within 60 miles of Austin, threatening to 'economically trample' anyone who helped build the 'child-killing compound.'

'This is about blacklisting, bullying, and harassing those you don't agree with,' says Danielle Tierney, a Planned Parenthood spokesperson. Luckily, the women's rights organization quickly got the public involved and received a phenomenal response from supporters everywhere. 'It has become the joke around here that Danze is the best fundraiser we've ever had,' Tierney adds. 'We exceeded our 2003 goal by almost 50 percent; our goal was $720,000 and we raised $1,078,000 by the end of December. We've also had calls from loads of contractors and subcontractors. They've flooded in, offering to work for us.'

Nevertheless, the anti-choice movement has lionized Danze for his efforts. Bader reports that 'his campaign -- under the auspices of the Austin Area Pro-Life Concrete Contractors and Suppliers Association -- marks the first time abortion foes have successfully used the threat of economic sanctions to delay a project. A similar project, orchestrated in 1998 in Lincoln, Nebraska, failed when the building contractor refused to buckle.'

Though construction of the Planned Parenthood clinic resumed in January after a delay of two-and-a-half months, Danze's boycott has taken its toll. Tierney adds, 'Texas leads the U.S. in the number of uninsured people. A quarter of the people in Austin are uninsured and 93 percent of Texas counties have no abortion providers. The majority of our patients are Latina, uninsured, and between 18 and 34 years old. What is so appalling is the willingness of the anti's to declare victory at any cost.'
-- Jacob Wheeler

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