Federal Judge Orders Arrests of Anti-Abortion Activists
NEW YORK (AP) _ A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the arrests of Randall Terry, the founder of Operation Rescue, and five other anti-abortion activists who allegedly tried to present a fetus to Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Bill Clinton.
U.S. District Judge Robert Ward signed the arrest warrants after state Attorney General Robert Abrams said they had violated a July 13 injunction against such activities.
Ward ordered a Monday hearing on whether the six should be found in contempt of court. He set bail at $25,000 each.
Edward Barbini, a spokesman for the attorney general, said Terry and the others would surrender to Ward at the federal courthouse Monday.
The judge also ordered that six other people who were arrested at sit-ins in medical offices Saturday and Tuesday appear at Monday’s contempt hearing.
The defendants in the fetus incident are Terry, of Binghamton, N.Y.; Keith Tucci, executive director of Operation Rescue, of Summerville, S.C.; the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, Operation Rescue’s national spokesman, of Boca Raton, Fla.; the Rev. Joseph Foreman, 30, of Marietta, Ga.; Robert Schenck, 34, of Tonawanda, N.Y.; and Harley Belew, 37, of Binghamton.
Police Lt. Irving Donaldson said in an affidavit that he saw Belew approach Clinton as if to ask him to autograph a newspaper as the Arkansas governor left the Inter-Continental Hotel Tuesday morning for a jog.
As Clinton went to sign, Belew moved the paper and showed the candidate a plastic container containing a fetus, Donaldson said. Clinton backed away and later described the incident as ″no big deal.″
Donaldson said he was at a news conference later when Schenck displayed a fetus wrapped in a towel. The lieutenant said city police and the Secret Service questioned Belew, Foreman and Schenck, and confiscated the fetus.
Donaldson said a pathologist at the New York City medical examiner’s office identified the item as a human fetus.
Police arrested the three activists on misdemeanor health-code violations. They were given summonses to appear in court and released.