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150 Arrested In Second Day of Anti-Abortion Protests

April 22, 1992

AMHERST, N.Y. (AP) _ At least 150 anti-abortion demonstrators were arrested this morning after charging police barricades in front of a suburban clinic as Operation Rescue’s abortion protests in Buffalo intensified.

Protesters went limp and were carried by police to buses. Police used plastic handcuffs to bind the arms of the arrested protesters.

Traffic was blocked near the clinic and police threatened to arrest anyone in the street, including reporters. A bus in which some Operation Rescue demonstrators had arrived was towed away from the front of the clinic.

As police hauled off the anti-abortion demonstrators, about 100 abortion rights advocates taunted them from in front of the Amherst office of Dr. Shalom Press. The abortion rights forces yelled ″Keep the sheep out of the street 3/8″ ″We have some very courageous and conscientious people who are braving humiliation to save human life,″ said the Rev. Robert Schenck, an anti-abortion leader from suburban Tonawanda.

Police Capt. Frank Olesko put the number of people arrested at at least 150, two full busloads. He said they would be charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. The Rev. Joe Slovenec, an Operation Rescue Leader, had said earlier that about 180 people were prepared to be arrested today.

One abortion-rights demonstrator was among those arrested. The unidentified woman was handcuffed and taken away by police after she crossed the street to approach two people leaving the doctor’s office who’d been confronted by reporters and anti-abortion demonstrators.

The demonstrations occurred on the second day of full-scale abortion demonstrations in the Buffalo area by Operation Rescue, a radical anti- abortion group based in Binghamton, N.Y. At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing arguments in Washington, D.C., on a key abortion case from Pennsylvania.

Kit Bonson, a spokeswoman for Buffalo United for Choice, said Press was continuing to see patients. She said two women received abortions in the clinic this morning.

″We are treating patients,″ said Press’ office manager, Linda Stadler. ″Our patients have not been stopped from coming into the clinic. We have done procedures today. ″ She said ″procedures″ meant abortions.

Carolyn Taggart, another member of Buffalo United for Choice, said two anti-abortion protesters broke through police lines and the crowd of abortion rights demonstrators and nearly got into the doctor’s office before they were stopped and arrested.

About 100 police officers tried to keep order at the clinic.

Things were quieter at two clinics in the city of Buffalo. Dr. Paul Taefi said abortion rights demonstrators were successfully preventing anti-abortion activists from keeping women out of his Linwood Avenue clinic.

Taefi said he had abortions scheduled for this morning and expected all of the women to get into the clinic. About 60 abortion rights activists gathered outside the clinic and a handful of anti-abortion protesters faced them across the street.

About 150 abortion rights demonstrators and a smaller number of anti- abortion protesters gathered at the Buffalo GYN Womenservices clinic.

On Tuesday, Schenck was arrested after he allegedly waved a human fetus in the faces of abortion rights demonstrators.

His twin brother, the Rev. Paul Schenck, was also arrested, charged with interfering with his brother’s arrest. Both were released without bail.

The formaldehyde-soaked fetus was knocked out of Robert Schenck’s hand as demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate jostled each other.

The ministers claimed that the fetus - which was later seized by police - came from an abortion clinic.

The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue has targeted Buffalo for two to four weeks of demonstrations patterned after the group’s siege of abortion clinics in Wichita, Kan., that resulted in 2,600 arrests last summer.

About 400 protesters on each side of the abortion issue demonstrated Tuesday at three clinics where abortions are performed.

The Erie County medical examiner’s office determined the fetus had been about 19 weeks in development but couldn’t say whether it had been aborted or stillborn, said Angelo Alessandra, Buffalo chief of detectives.

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