From Our Founder
To Our Supporters, Volunteers and Friends,
In the years since Voice of Choice was organized, it has honestly been a privilege for me to meet so many passionate people. Our mission and tactics have been very basic: We stand up against the harassment, intimidation, and bullying from people who can’t stand the idea that women have a choice in their own healthcare decisions. Voice of Choice would not have been possible 20 years ago.
Our initial success has been possible because of some fortunate timing, some very poor choices by anti-abortion zealots, and a little tenacity. We now live in a world where everyone has a cell phone with a camera in their pocket. Email and social media allow organizers to create movements. Combine that with the poorly considered actions of some anti-abortion activists that angered an entire community—regardless of what side of the issue you favor—and Voice of Choice was born.
I like to tell people that I developed my strategies when I was on the playground in grade school. Basically, if you hit me I will hit you back. And while we have had great success turning the tables on those who were used to acting with impunity, the reality is that people from both sides of the abortion argument admire the civility in the way we make our point. We try to remove the hate and violence. We respect others’ beliefs, even though we disagree with them. We encourage people to effect change legally and in a socially acceptable way. We respect other’s free speech rights and exercise our First Amendment rights when other abuse theirs.
Our most important achievement over the past years has been to reduce the fear and humiliation of those who need abortion services or those working in and around the industry. It is much harder for leaders of anti-abortion groups to get rank and file support now that Voice of Choice makes the individual participants accountable for their actions.
I have my personal set of beliefs, tastes, and desires. They work for me and define who I am and how I act. I respect others who disagree with me. I have never met anyone who agrees with me on all issues and yet I still manage to foster healthy relationships. I am willing to share ideas and learn why you might agree or disagree with me. I might even change my opinion over time under the right circumstances (as defined by me). I want to promote overall tolerance and ask the people of Voice of Choice to help me fight intolerant actions. That also means that if you do not support abortion rights, you should be able to make that choice. As long as you do not infringe on my rights or act in an anti-social way I will not try to change your mind or your behavior. You will not even get my opinion, unless you seek it.
Tolerance is one of the core values of America, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and a peaceful world.
There are too many examples of people being persecuted for not sharing the same set of values. It is time that people who are alone in their fight and need support to get it from a group that is organized to lower hate and rhetoric and can turn the tables on bullies.
There is room for compromise on nearly every issue regardless of how emotional and polarizing it is. Step One in finding middle ground is respecting dissenting opinions. Step Two is to be civilized in your discussions and debates.
I understand that Voice of Choice was founded by people who wanted to stand up for abortion rights. Abortion is a very emotional issue, and while we have made progress in our efforts we need stay focused on keeping zealots from hurting people who make choices they disagree with.
You are making a difference.
Thank you all for your support.
Todd Stave, Founder
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