There's still almost two weeks left in the anti-abortion "40 Days for Life" event, an annual pre-Easter assault on reproductive health clinics by anti-choice prayer vigils and "sidewalk counselors." The goal is allegedly to close clinics and save "babies" through prayer, though more often it is the intimidating presence of the protesters who are armed with rosaries and graphic pictures of fetuses magnified to gigantic proportions that make women turn away from the buildings.
In Alaska the rhetoric appears to be increasing, as more and more women are reporting to the police being harassed outside the Planned Parenthood in Anchorage.
The 40 Days for Life group, however, is claiming they don't interact with the patients at all. Via KTVA11.com:
On any given day you’ll find different organizations protesting in front of the clinic, including "40 Days For Life", a national anti-abortion group who plans to protest in front of Planned Parenthood until April 17th.
“Planned Parenthood does offer some other services but they are the largest abortion provider chain in America and our goal is to end abortion,” Haylee Shields, with the 40 Days For Life campaign said.
Part of their campaign is to use prayer to end abortion, which means no interaction with patients whatsoever.
“We are here as a prayerful presence, very peaceful, we don’t have any signs that are controversial, they just say pray to end abortion and that’s the main message,” she said.
If they aren't interacting with patients, exactly why are so many women feeling harassed?