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Protestors Arrested Outside Englewood Abortion Clinic

December 10, 1989

Undated (AP) _ Police arrested 125 anti-abortion protesters in a New Jersey town Saturday after the group blocked an abortion clinic in violation of a court order, authorities said.

In Massachusetts, police arrested about 75 anti-abortion protestors who tried to block the entrances to three abortion clinics in a Boston suburb, including one a few blocks from the home of Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.

Elsewhere, abortion opponents and supporters faced off in Southern California, pro-choice demonstrators marched on the Kentucky Capitol and anti- abortion pickets moved away from an abortion clinic in Texas when several Ku Klux Klansmen came to join their ranks.

In Englewood, N.J., protesters blocked the entrances to the Metropolitan Medical Associates building in the New York City suburb at about 7:30 a.m.

Between 400 and 500 people milled outside the clinic, making it difficult to distinguish between anti-abortion protesters and pro-choice demonstrators, said police Sgt. Arthur O’Keefe.

″There were pushing and shoving matches breaking out all over ... as well as people who had chained themselves to the front door,″ O’Keefe said. ″There were some blows struck.″

Several officers received minor injuries, he said.

The sergeant said 125 anti-abortion protesters were arrested. He said they face disorderly person charges for obstructing a public passage and contempt charges for violating the court order.

Susan Martinelli, the clinic’s medical director, said staff and patients were able to get into the clinic around 1:30 p.m. Most patients stayed through the protest and kept their appointments, she said.

Ms. Martinelli said the clinic had a court order enjoining protesters from demonstrating on the same side of the street as the building. Saturday’s protest was the first to violate the order, she said.

In the Boston suburb of Brookline, about 500 demonstrators on both sides of the issue gathered at three clinics, with abortion rights supporters linking arms to try to prevent abortion opponents from blocking entrances.

About 75 anti-abortion protesters were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing, Patrolman Ronald Paterson said. At least one person also was arrested after punching a police officer, he said.

Those arrested were expected to be arraigned Monday in Brookline District Court, Paterson said.

In Texas, about 20 Klansmen in a protest outside a clinic in the Fort Worth suburb of White Settlement. Bill Walton, grand dragon of the state’s KKK, criticized two dozen other anti-abortion pickets who moved across the street when the Klansmen arrived.

″They’re like cowards; they ran like rats off a sinking ship,″ Walton said.

Rick Horton, leader of the protesters from the Tarrant County Pro-Life Action Network, said his group did not want to be associated with the Klan. Horton said Walton contacted him earlier and said he was against the ″the murder of white babies.″

″Sure, we’re pro-white, but I also told him we’re against the murder of all babies,″ Walton said. ″If some Negro wanted to come out there and protest with us, he could have.″

About 550 people tracked through snow and ice to a rally for women’s rights at the Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort. State Reps. Ernesto Scorsone and Susan Stokes urged participants to write their state legislators to lobby against any attempt to restrict abortion in the state.

In Fullerton, Calif., about 200 people from the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and an equal number of pro-choice activists demonstrated outside an abortion clinic for four hours, Sgt. Steve Matson said. The clinic was closed Saturday and there were no arrests, he said.

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