For a long time, the pro-life movement has had a keen sense of how people respond to incentives. Protesters outside of clinics proved to be a very effective strategy for raising the social and moral costs of seeking an abortion.
Now a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia has come up with a very clever strategy for fighting back, called “Pledge-a-Picket:”
Every time protesters gather outside of our Locust Street health center, our patients face verbal attacks from them. They see graphic signs meant to confuse and intimidate. They are sometimes blocked from entering the building and occasionally they are videotaped. They are offered anti-choice propaganda and free rides to the closest “crisis pregnancy center.”
Staff and volunteers are also seen as targets. We are all called murderers, are lectured to about committing sins, and are told we will pay the “ultimate price” for our actions.
Here’s how it works: You decide on the amount you would like to pledge for each protester (minimum 10 cents). When protesters show up on our sidewalks, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania will count and record their number each day from October 1 through November 30, 2005. We will place a sign outside the health center that tracks pledges and makes protesters fully aware that their actions are benefiting PPSP. At the end of the two-month campaign, we will send you an update on protest activities and a pledge reminder.
My prediction: abortion clinics around the country will soon be adopting this approach.
(Thanks to Gordon Morrison for forwarding me this link.)
Freakonomics Trivia Question: Which of the Freakonomics authors, as a child, drew “abortion is murder” posters to aid his mother’s fight against legalized abortion?