Unable to turn the public against sex, the pro-life movement will be on the march Saturday trying to convince women that birth-control pills will kill them.
The right-wing American Life League and a handful of regional organizations will stand around outside U.S. pharmacies and Planned Parenthood chapters this weekend for the second annual "Protest the Pill Day." Dispatches from last year's protests, posted at thepillkills.com, offer a sense of what to expect.
"About two dozen prayerful witnesses testified to the facts of death about the pill," reads last year's ALL report from the protest at a Planned Parenthood in Napa, Calif. "For one hour the prayers were offered for the many uninformed patrons who come asking the staff of Planned Parenthood to provide chemicals, hormones, and sex-education as an answer to their problems with the natural consequences of abuse of sex."
"We experienced a lot of thumbs up and approving honks," gushed a protester who stood outside the Planned Parenthood of South Texas for an hour last year.
The American Life League blames birth control -- all birth control, conflating the pill with less time-tested contraceptives -- for abortions and a wide variety of deadly health problems. The group's Web site also helpfully provides a nationwide map to facilities and protests. More ominously in the wake of George Tiller's murder, it includes some ambiguous language about who should use it.
"As the national group focused on grassroots efforts to defeat Planned Parenthood, American Life League hopes the information presented will be helpful to all in this battle," the Web site reads.
Behind the scenes, ALL and other right-wing groups are pushing state and local governments to deny women access to birth control and emergency contraception, as well as "fetal personhood" laws begging for a Supreme Court challenge, said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. In the meantime, Gandy said, the grassroots are a critical battleground, and education is key.
"It's sad to say, they are targeting young women who, after eight years of 'abstinence only' sex mis-education, are particularly vulnerable to their propaganda," Gandy wrote in a letter. "We know that the greatest danger to women's lives comes from a lack of access to good reproductive health care, including birth control and abortion -- and scientifically accurate information."