League’s “Handcuffs Project” Hits Home

Handcuffs cartoonWhen I mailed out a package to every abortion clinic in the country a couple weeks ago, including a pair of plastic handcuffs and my phone number, I didn’t really expect to get any calls—at least not from abortion clinics.

I thought most likely the abortion clinics would completely ignore this “care package,” and the best I could expect was some good coverage from friendly media—Christian and pro-life sites that would be interested in a project like this. Still, I was hopeful the project could reach a wider audience and did everything I could to make that happen.

And it all paid off. Not only was I directly contacted by several abortion clinics, but the campaign received outstanding media coverage, including articles in USA Today and Cosmopolitan. Read on for details and links.

Abortionist Providers on the Line

The handcuffs packages were mailed on January 22—the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court rulings that stripped all unborn children of their legal right to life.

My first call in response to the mailing came Monday, January 26 from a doctor’s office in the Deep South, a woman who told me their office no longer performs abortions. She identified herself at the wife of the former abortionist, and said she’s a Catholic and convinced him to stop doing abortions. “It’s about his soul,” she said.

I was grateful to make this connection. It’s rare these days to hear about an abortionist quitting. Abortion clinic staffers quit fairly often, but the physicians who actually perform abortions are much more deeply invested. You can be sure I’ll be following up on this.

The next morning I got a call from Miami, Florida—an abortion clinic staffer who was very angry about the handcuffs. She insisted that I didn’t understand why women need abortions, and almost immediately brought up the issue of rape. When I pointed out that less than one percent of abortions are sought for that reason and that most women who conceive children from rape do not abort them, she hung up on me.

That afternoon, I had got a call from the medical director of an abortion clinic in Detroit, Michigan, who talked to me for a full ten minutes. She declared that this is a “cruel, ugly world,” and said that she’s sparing children from it by providing abortions. She told me I should be sending her diapers for poor women, not plastic handcuffs. Which I did.

I found it interesting that these two abortion providers felt a need to justify themselves to me. Clearly my mailing had hit home at some level.

Giving Clinic Workers a Way Out

On Wednesday, a woman called me from an abortion clinic in North Carolina. She wanted to know where the key was, laughingly saying the couldn’t get them off. She also said she wanted to hear more “about the job,” a reference to my note saying, “If you want to get out of the abortion business, give me a call.” I asked her position, and she said she was a nurse.

Though I realized she might not be serious, I gave her the number for And Then There Were None, Abby Johnson’s pro-life outreach to abortion clinic workers. I sensed that at least at some level, this woman wanted out of abortion.

Later that day I received a text message from a person in New York State who had just left the abortion business and had heard about the handcuffs package from a former co-worker. This person was troubled by what they’d seen and wanted to talk more about it; at this point, that’s all I can say about the connection.

Harassment from Abortion Supporters

As news about the handcuffs package began to spread—thanks in large part to a major story in Cosmopolitan—I started getting crank calls and hateful texts, many of them from Austin, Texas, for some reason.

A caller from New York City said she hopes I get arrested, though she couldn’t really say what law I’d violated by mailing toy handcuffs and a signed note. Texts came in calling me a “bully” and “psychotic,” and similar comments began to appear on various news articles about the project, especially on pro-abortion websites.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 28, my Facebook account was suspended due to a bogus complaint that I had violated their terms of service. This was right in the midst of a great deal of discussion on my wall about the handcuffs project. But I was able to get the account reactivated in just a couple hours.

Planned Parenthood CEO Tweets about the Handcuffs

I knew this project had really hit home when Cecile Richards, the CEO of Planned Parenthood, tweeted about it:


Shortly thereafter, NARAL published a tweet, too:


It was extremely gratifying to know that this project had hit home with the two largest pro-abortion groups in the country.

Another tweet by Katie Klabusich, an abortion clinic escort who was the subject of the Pro-Life Action League’s Lenten prayer campaign last year, led to a whole series of conversations:


I managed to get into Twitter debates about abortion with two different abortionists. Not surprisingly, neither would frankly answer my questions about the value of life in the womb. But I did gain some valuable insight into the ways abortionists try to justify what they’re doing—and earned many new followers on Twitter.

Abortion Fund Highlights Handcuffs Mailing to Raise Money

Among the responses from abortion advocates to my handcuffs mailing was an effort by Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates to raise money with it. According to an article by pro-choice journalist Robin Marty—who has interviewed League staff on several occasions—they raised $1,000, far short of their goal of $5,000. Several of the pro-choice people who texted me also mentioned they were donating to pro-abortion causes.

Of course, I’m disappointed to hear about anybody contributing to a pro-abortion group, especially one that directly funds abortions. But that kind of response shows how effective this kind of bold, creative activism can be. If nothing I’m doing upsets the other side enough they can raise money on it, then I’ll really be worried.

If you’d like to “counteract” that fundraising for abortion—and support the kind of effective, creative activism you’re seeing here with this handcuffs project, I invite you make a gift to the Pro-Life Action League.

Great News Coverage of the Handcuffs Project

The handcuffs project has received a great deal of news coverage, both from friendly and hostile news outlets, as well as mainstream media. Here are some of the articles that have appeared:

  • Cosmopolitan: Abortion providers received handcuffs in the mail on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade
  • USA Today: Pro-life group mails handcuffs to Ala. abortion clinic
  • Washington Times: Pro-life ‘handcuff’ project still reverberating in abortion circles
  • Christian Post: Abortion care packages containing handcuffs sent to over 500 clinics in the US
  • American Thinker: A handcuffs project for abortionists
  • LifeSiteNews: Today we sent handcuffs to every abortion clinic in America
  • LifeNews: Pro-life group sends handcuffs to every abortion doc
  • Jill Stanek: Abortion proponents in uproar over pro-life handcuff mailer
  • LifeSiteNews: Leading pro-life activist’s facebook account suspended, reason unclear
  • World Net Daily: Abortionists get arresting surprise in mail
  • Life Dynamics: Pro-life group mails handcuffs to abortion clinics
  • Christian Post cartoon: A cautionary message for abortion clinics
  • Montgomery Advertiser: Montgomery abortion clinic mailed plastic handcuffs
  • WAFF TV: AL abortion clinics receive unusual package from Pro-Life Action League
  • LeftInAlabama.com: Pro-Life Action League sends out free handcuffs, veiled threats
  • Breitbart Unmasked: 50 ways to pay Eric Scheidler Pro-Life Action League to fund abortions
  • RH Reality Check: Threats against abortion providers have doubled since 2010, report finds
  • Care2.com: How an anti-abortion stunt helped this pro-choice group raise money
  • Share Tweet Email