Anti-Abortion Activists Arrested at Planned Parenthood Clinic
BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) _ Eight people were arrested Saturday during an anti-abortion protest outside a Planned Parenthood clinic where hundreds of demonstrators heckled women arriving to have abortions.
Six men and two women were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct during the early-morning confrontation, said Brookline police Officer William Ellis.
Police refused to identify those who were arrested but said they were members of Operation Rescue, a national anti-abortion group which has staged several protests in the Greater Boston area and around the country in recent months.
About 125 protesters blocked the sidewalk and stairs leading to the clinic. Some of them clasped hands and sat down along the sidewalk while others prayed loudly and carried signs depicting aborted fetuses.
″I’m praying for the women who are going in for abortions,″ said anti- abortion activist Charlene Lister. ″They’ll have the guilt and the torment.″
The anti-abortion activists were often drowned out by about 250 supporters of choice on abortion, who chanted slogans and carried their own signs.
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Susan Newsom said the group heard Friday that Operation Rescue was planning a protest and mobilized the counterdemonstration by telephoning supporters.
″They think they have the answer for everyone but they don’t,″ said Newsom. ″They’re not persuading anyone. If anything, I think they alienate mainstream anti-abortionists.″
Newsom said Planned Parenthood told the women scheduled to have abortions Saturday that they could reschedule appointments. But she said all chose to come despite the protest.
Planned Parenthood counselor Nancy Drooker said 12 women came for abortions at the clinic Saturday.
Anti-abortion activist Kenneth Berthiaume said he would continue to attend demonstrations ″because we have to keep them from killing babies. They kill more babies every year than they killed all the men in World War II.″
Recent Operation Rescue demonstrations stem from an abortion protest in Atlanta that began when the Democratic National Convention was held there in July and has resulted in more than 1,200 arrests over several weeks.