WAMU 88.5 : News

Maryland Landlord Gives Voice To Abortion Rights Supporters

Play associated audio

This month, abortion rights opponents staged a demonstration in Germantown, Md. to mark the one-year anniversary of the arrival of Dr. Leroy Carhart, a physician who provides late term abortions. The clinic, as well as the owner of the building where Carhart provides the procedure, has been the focus of protests in the past year. Now, that building's owner says he's found a way to fight back.

Target of aggressive protests

This past September, a group of anti-abortion activists gathered outside of the Robert Frost middle school in Rockville. They'd been trying for months to get landlord Todd Stave to end his lease with the Reproductive Health Service Clinic, and Dr. Leroy Carhart. Stave refused and now activists were raising the stakes by picketing  his daughter's school, during "back to school night."

"Not only did they have the graphic posters, but they also had a banner with my photograph, my phone number, my email address and something along the lines of 'stop the child killing.'"

That evening, Stave was approached by other parents at the school who were troubled by the protest, wanting to help. Stave says in the days following, he was inundated with phone calls from abortion rights opponents -- that's when he decided to turn the tables.

"And I gave them, the people who asked how they could help, specific instructions -- Call these people. Tell them, 'The Stave family thanks you for your prayers, we've heard your pleas, and no, we're not going to do anything about it.'"

From reaction to movement

Soon, the grassroots effort grew from 20 volunteers to an organization of 5,000 people called "Voice of Choice." Stave calls it a measured response to harassment he feels is wrong.

Jack Ames, the director of Defend Life, the group that organized the middle school protest, has received a phone call or two from Voice of Choice.

"We got a flurry of phone calls for a few weeks, but we're big people, we can take that, and people do have the right to exercise their First Amendment rights like we do," Ames says. "There's a lot of them making these phone calls to try to intimidate us, but it's not going to work. We're going to continue our efforts to expose Todd Stave."

Ames says he doubts Stave has gained any ground with his efforts. Stave hopes the unwanted attention will cause some activists to think about how their message is conveyed, he says.

NPR

A Glimpse Of Listeners' #NPRpoetry — From The Punny To The Profound

It was a simple idea: Would you, our listeners, tweet us poems for National Poetry Month? Your response contained multitudes — haiku, lyrics, even one 8-year-old's ode to her dad's bald spot.
WAMU 88.5

Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet

Some say eating insects could save the planet, as we face the potential for global food and protein shortages. It's a common practice in many parts of the world, but what would it take to make bugs more appetizing to the masses here in the U.S.? Does it even make sense to try? A look at the arguments for and against the practice known as entomophagy, and the cultural and environmental issues involved.

WAMU 88.5

A Federal Official Shakes Up Metro's Board

After another smoke incident and ongoing single tracking delays for fixes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a shake-up of Metro's board.

NPR

'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.