Petition drive to stop abortion funding seeking volunteers

FALL RIVER, Mass. — Last year, Boston-based attorney Tom Harvey, known for his pro bono work for the Pro-Life movement, led a petition drive to put an end to publicly-funded abortions in Massachusetts.

That initial effort fell short of the needed quota of 66,500 signatures. But Attorney Harvey has been hard at work organizing volunteers in every part of the state to garner signatures for another petition.

Those who attended the volunteer training sessions in August and September will recall they discussed in depth exactly how to make sure the signature drive was a success. Now they need your help to make sure they stay on track.

As outlined in August, the organizational structure is designed to help with “signature math.” There is an online sign-up sheet with volunteers, each helping in their regions to gather signatures. They passed out counts tracking documents (click here to download one), and other important documents. The goal is to gather 100,000 raw signatures to ensure they get to the 67,000 certified needed. This has been broken down to 25,000 signatures in each of our four regions, with 2,500 signatures per region per week. Simple math!

Based upon the number of volunteers signed up, they only need each person to gather 192 signatures. But it’s not quite that simple.

Many volunteers have signed up but are not responding to emails or phone calls. Organizers haven’t connected with them to get them papers, despite multiple attempts, so they don’t know if someone else has connected with them and they’re out collecting, or if they’ve decided instead not to help. 

If you haven’t signed up and are collecting, please let them know! Sign up HERE, and ask your friends to do so.

If you have papers and haven’t reported counts or emailed your field director, please at least let them know you’re helping toward the goal, so they stop spending time/money reaching out to “activate” you!

The group estimates that they need each active and involved person to obtain 375 signatures total going forward to meet their goal — roughly 63 each weekend between now and when papers are due. They add new people to this category of active collectors everyday, and the number of signatures each active person has to get slightly decreases because of this. This is a very achievable goal, but they really need your help to avoid several logistical challenges we’re running into:

— They need more people at Market Baskets and post offices.

— Church drives can be handled by one or two experienced volunteers with assistance from church personnel. The group is asking every single volunteer to sign up with their regional director for a shift this weekend at a grocery store or town dump or post office.

They end up with too many volunteers at churches or Pro-Life events, driving the per-person per-hour signature gathering rate way down. They can get between 15 and 20 signatures an hour at most Market Baskets, and must focus efforts where time is best spent. Six people spending three hours at a church drive with 100 people signing results in each volunteer getting just five signatures an hour. This wastes resources, when volunteers could be outside a supermarket getting 15 signatures an hour.

— Volunteers need to tell organizers where they plan to collect, so they’re not spending time recruiting other volunteers for those same places. With big events/festivals such as parades, we’ve inadvertently sent more volunteers than needed, because a second or even third group of volunteers is attending to gather signatures there and didn’t tell their regional director.

— Town captains should spread volunteers around. Send no more than two or three people to any one location, so if you have difficulties in a particular spot, you’re not losing the whole team for the whole weekend. For example, one team send eight volunteers to a church event, only to be kicked out. The group collected 60 signatures total, fewer than 10 signatures per person for several hours of volunteer time. If instead six of them had gone to nearby supermarkets or the post office, the overall effort would’ve likely gathered far more signatures for the time spent at the church event.  

— Get local! Each region has been broken down into smaller teams of between five and 15 people, to give everyone smaller individual and group goals, and cover key locations. If you don’t know who your other local team members are, contact your field director to be assigned to a specific small local group to work with volunteers from nearby municipalities.

If you want to lead a group, simply reach out to organizers and they can help recruit nearby volunteers to join you.

NOTE: There will be an important Conference call on Tuesday, October 10 at 8 p.m. Please call 515-604-9819, and enter access code: 788-451. This is an opportunity ask questions and share best practices, so please join in!

For information about volunteering here in the diocese or Massachusetts Citizens for Life, visit or contact Andrea St. Germain at 508-776-9506.

For more information about the petition effort, contact the Massachusetts Alliance to Stop Public Funding of Abortion, P.O. Box 345, Arlington, Mass. 02476.

© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts