Texas Pro-Life Groups Admit To "Tracking" Clinic Patients

The scariest revelation of the anti-abortion movement.

Texas Abortion Tracking
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The latest news to come out of the Texas pro-life movement will absolutely terrify you. Salon revealed that at a recent Texas Alliance for Life training session at the Texas State Capitol, representatives from some of the state's pro-life groups spoke about "tracking tactics" outside of abortion clinics. When the protestors or sidewalk counselors succeed in their mission to have a patient "turn away" from the clinic, they take some seriously scary measures to ensure that she remains pregnant.

Tracking comes into play in order to assure that these women don't return to the clinic to have the procedure performed at a later date. To do this, speaker Karen Garnett of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas revealed in the below video that they will take note of who enters and leaves the clinic, marking down a woman's license plate, car make and model, and her physical description. They keep track of all of this patient data in what Garnett refers to as a "sophisticated spreadsheet". To ensure the continuation of her pregnancy, the tracking lives on past when a woman leaves the clinic's parking lot. One group, 40 Days for Life, tracked 67 women throughout their pregnancy, to the point where they knew that the nine months resulted in a birth, according to speaker and 40 Days for Life representative Eileen Romano.

Whether you've been a patient at an abortion clinic in the past or not, we can all agree that the prospect of a stranger making note of your personal appearance and your car so they can keep track your abortion clinic visits is absolutely terrifying. This invasion of privacy seems more like stalking than activist work. And patients aren't the only people at the clinics who are subject to intense scrutiny from pro-life supporters. Abortion providers are also subject to tracking. In the past, they have used district records to determine where providers, whose previous clinics closed in the aftermath of HB2, will open up shop next.

A specific point of pride for that Garnett mentioned was the intimidation factor that protestors bring to the clinic's surroundings. "The number of cancelled appointments…just because they don't want to drive in because they see our presence there," she says. "That's one impact."

Listen to the entire chilling speech below.


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Diana Pearl

I'm an Associate Editor at the Business of Fashion, where I edit and write stories about the fashion and beauty industries. Previously, I was the brand editor at Adweek, where I was the lead editor for Adweek's brand and retail coverage. Before my switch to business journalism, I was a writer/reporter at PEOPLE.com, where I wrote news posts, galleries and articles for PEOPLE magazine's website. My work has been published on TheAtlantic.com, ELLE.com, MarieClaire.com, PEOPLE.com, GoodHousekeeping.com and in Every Day with Rachael Ray. It has been syndicated by Cosmopolitan.com, TIME.com, TravelandLeisure.com and GoodHousekeeping.com, among other publications. Previously, I've worked at VOGUE.com, ELLE.com, and MarieClaire.com.