Yet as a commentor at the last BoingBoing link wondered, why can't women just get abortions in hospitals or at the regular clinics they go to so the disturbed, whackjob protestors don't have such an easy and obvious target? I mean, Planned Parenthood works on the side of the angels and all, but the same tireless efforts that make them a beacon to women in need have made them a magnet for the world's Randall Terrys.
I don't know, but maybe that's part of the point. There's nothing like a good public shaming to help the patriarchy channel underclass rage towards those even lower down the pecking order.
The abortion clinic just functions as a replacement for putting people in the pillory or making them wear scarlet letters, which it couldn't if health care providers weren't encouraged to isolate women's care.
If reproductive health services weren't so hard for women to get, and a lot of women go to these clinics because they don't have health coverage and they're the only place they can afford to get a yearly ob/gyn visit or birth control, especially low income women, it wouldn't be so easy to personally intimidate and embarass them. It wouldn't be so easy to proselytize them in person when you have reason to suspect they may be feeling vulnerable.
(And trust me, proselytizing fundamentalists love to get you when you're down. That's their favorite frakking time to try barging into your life with some snake oil panacea. They talk about it when you aren't around, I remember it well.)
The protestors are sanctioned by society both in the (hopefully not still ongoing) refusal of federal law enforcement to take extremists like those of Operation Rescue's terrorist diaspora seriously, and in the refusal of powerful cultural institutions to reject extremists like Randall Terry:
... Randall Terry, the antiabortion extremist who founded Operation Rescue (and then was ousted from the group) has been a busy man since he moved to Washington, D.C. last year. Most of his activities have focused on President Barack Obama: heckling the president and his nominees in various venues, and performing street theater that features a white man wearing an Obama mask while turning a bullwhip on his confederates.
Terry's "activism" appears to have won the approval of the four Catholic bishops who preside over the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., where Terry, who now leads Insurrecta Nex, a group also founded by him, will make a presentation in an anti-abortion training program later this month, according to a press release sent by Terry himself. ...
As 'regrettable' as the political elite may find some tactics of the protestors, they essentially agree with them.
It's the position of official Washington that abortion is gross and regrettable, that it isn't legitimate healthcare deserving of inclusion in any definition of essential services unless a woman is otherwise going to drop dead on the spot, but if she's just at risk of losing her eyesight or future fertility or ability to provide for her family, screw her. Actually, that last point is a minor difference, wherein the protestors are absolutely willing to see women drop dead on the spot rather than admit that there might be times it's inadvisable to carry a pregnancy through to labor and birth - though for women who can't afford health care of any kind on their own, it's a distinction without a difference.
Though the main thing that the political elite have bought into is that women don't own their bodies, aren't competent to make decisions about them and may only be absolved of dirty slutdom if they've actually been raped.
It's the rape exception that reveals the whole thing for the woman-controlling, slut-shaming sham that it is.
So for these reasons, I view violent, abusive, coercive and manipulative protestors as an arm of the State. Because the government refuses to take the logical step of removing women from harm's way by letting them get all their medical care at the same places that less icky citizens get theirs, they must therefore sanction this abuse that's going on in plain sight, in front of gods and everybody, every damn day in the country they're responsible for.