The Darling of Anti-Choice

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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Darling of Anti-Choice

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