Inside the Newest Faction of the Anti-Abortion Movement
Meet Toby Harmon, a onetime drug dealer who found Jesus in jail, and his wife and three homeschooled kids who regularly join him outside Oklahoma abortion clinics in protest. Harmon is the co-founder of Abolish Human Abortion, a new, uncompromising anti-abortion group that is growing in presence around the country.
Harmon and his associates call themselves “abolitionists,” with all slavery comparisons explicitly intended. They protest outside churches - yes, churches - accusing them of not doing enough to end abortion, and talk scornfully of “pro-lifers” who make peace with rape exceptions to abortion bans. AHA activists wear t-shirts emblazoned with “End Child Sacrifice” and proudly display photos of bloodied, fully developed fetuses. Last month, they started showing up outside of high schools for what they call “Project Frontlines.” That’s where msnbc.com recently joined them - and then came home with the Harmons.
For the mainstream movement to ban abortion, graphic photos and aggressive language have generally gone out of style. The winning slogans, the ones Republican politicians prefer, are warmer, fuzzier: Thumbsucking ultrasound photos, or “women’s health” used as a pretext to shut down safe abortion clinics, including three in Texas in recent weeks alone. The losing slogans involve Akin-like “legitimate rape” and comparing Planned Parenthood to the Klan.