With its conservative leanings, Central Florida has long been a hotbed for anti-abortion fanatics. Politicians, including House Speaker Tom Feeney, are ardently "pro-life." Local governments try to run abortion clinics out of town. In 1998, Operation Rescue staged a week-long protest outside an Orlando clinic, where protesters yelled obscenities to patronsÃ?they called it "sidewalk counseling."
Get ready for the next, much more gruesome, pro-life campaign.
"Florida is a battleground state," says Gregg Cunningham, founder of the anti-abortion, California-based Center for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR), "and abortion is always the subtext in major battleground states."
The old way of protesting, yelling and screaming, was "totally counterproductive," Cunningham says. "It shows a lack of integrity and compassion." His answer: the Reproductive Choice Campaign. Sound nice? It's not. Next week, CBR will drive two semitrailer rucks through the streets of Orlando, each with a larger-than-life portrait of a bloody, aborted fetus on the side.
"To break through the denial `that fetuses aren't human`, we have to force-feed facts through people's heads," Cunningham says. "You can can't have a debate ... until you have the facts."