Abortion-rights dust kicked up by state legislators last year still hangs in the air, with protesters from both sides set for a contentious showdown on opening day of the General Assembly.
Things turned nastier during the weekend after the conservative, pro-life Family Foundation unearthed a profane post on Facebook about its president, Victoria Cobb.
Shelley Abrams, who runs an abortion clinic in Henrico County, plans a pro-choice rally at the Capitol on Wednesday. Through Facebook, she invited her fellow protesters to crash the Family Foundation's prayer breakfast that day and then "fuck with Victoria Cobb a bit afterwards."
Abrams is unapologetic for such language. "I think that women's rights groups have been ladylike for far too long," she says. "I want someone standing up for my rights … to be the loudest, brashest, most aggressive person I can find."
Cobb's group fired back Friday with a blog post on its website that disparages the protesters as lacking human dignity. Painting the new political opponents as a crude, unholy force to be reckoned with, Cobb's group is attempting to rally its supporters to the Capitol to push back against the pro-choice activists who made headlines last year.
The Family Foundation didn't return a request for comment, but in a video posted on the organization's website, Cobb asks supporters to attend the pro-life rally Wednesday to launch a bold and aggressive campaign to match that of the women's rights protesters, whom she describes as "angry, hostile, hysterical, vulgar and anti-Christian."
Abrams acknowledges that her approach — for example, describing her opponents as "women-haters" — doesn't fly with all of her group's supporters, but she says most of them at least appreciate that it's effective. "I have heard a lot of people disapprove of vulgar language, things like that," she says, "but I think they see the difference we're making and in the end it overcomes any reservations they have about whether we look vulgar."