ExposeFakeClinics Coalition Member Stephanie Martin of the Texas Handmaids writes about successfully educating fake clinic donors about fake clinic practices.
Ugh. Fake clinics. Such bullshit artists. And in the state of Texas they receive $38 million of our taxpayer dollars. But they have to share that public loot with creepy maternity homes and Christian adoption agencies so most of them are always on the hustle for revenue. They get a steady trickle from area churches, but they like to get easy money when they can by misrepresenting themselves to potential business donors. Enter the Texas Handmaids. Exposing fake clinics is one of our prime directives as an organization and we’ve come up with a successful method to sideline some of their revenue-- protest their business donors.
First, we search the social media of our local cpcs. They like to publicly thank business donors because it legitimizes them in the eyes of the public. We take down names. Then we send the businesses a letter registered mail informing them of what their donation actually funds. Recipients have to sign for registered mail so that way we know for sure it was received. In the letter, we explain what a fake clinic is and include a screenshot of the public thank you their business received. We close by asking donors, “Do the values of your company match those of (this fake clinic)?” Sometimes the whole thing ends right there. We’ve had several businesses contact us aghast at what they unwittingly donated to, but usual we get no response.
Step two-- progressive postcarding! We work with an awesome group, Lunch + Action = Friendship (LAF) who publishes a weekly list of letter writing actions to take and kindly includes our fake clinic business donors. LAFers write something along the lines of “I’m sorry, but I can no longer patronize your business knowing that you donate to an anti-choice group that lies to, shames, and manipulates women.”
After a few weeks of boycott postcards, we organize a protest of the business donor. Consumer pressure is a powerful thing in a capitalist society. Although this is Texas, Austin is a liberal city and few businesses want to be seen as having a right wing political agenda. When we do protest, these are the easiest, least confrontational actions we take. No one wants to cause a bigger scene. Sure, what would you do if half a dozen Handmaids rolled up to your bustling brunch service with an eight foot banner reading, “This business supports FAKE CLINICS”? We talk to the manager and leave an info flyer with them as well as pass them out to customers.
So what constitutes a win if they’ve already donated? It’s tricky. We just ask that they promise not to donate again and tell them we monitor fake clinic social media for donor thank yous and that we’d be pretty pissed if they lied to us. Like, protest you at your busiest hour every week pissed. So far, this is working! We’ve convinced six businesses to vow to never again donate to a fake clinic.
Who? (Support these businesses Texans!)
Andy’s Frozen Custard Pflugerville
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
Jack Allen’s Kitchen
B&D Custom Design
Of course, they are starting to catch on to our game-- they have stopped posting thank yous to business donors online, but really this is a win. They are slowly being driven back into the shadows.
The community is realizing that maybe it’s not cool to support shady AF, anti-gay, fringe organizations. Women are angry, and are realizing we have to fight for our rights while we still have some. It’s an ugly, frustrating, dark time. But there’s just enough light to feel our way through this together. #exposefakeclinics #texashandmaids
Join The Texas Handmaids at https://www.facebook.com/txhandmaids/ and www.TexasHandmaids.com