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Abortion Rights Banners Draped Over Statue of Liberty With AM-Abortion Protests

July 29, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ Abortion rights activists briefly covered the face of the Statue of Liberty on Monday to protest regulations banning abortion counseling at federally funded family planning clinics.

″We wanted to gag the Statue of Liberty as the federal government is gagging women’s rights,″ said protest spokeswoman Karen Ramspacher.

In May, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld federal regulations forbidding abortion counseling or referrals in family planning clinics that receive federal funds. Abortion rights groups want Congress to revoke the rule.

About 30 members of WHAM 3/8 - Women’s Health Action and Mobilization - hung two black banners.

The 10-by-15-foot banner hung from the crown said ″No Choice, No Liberty.″

Park Service Ranger James Pilgrim said the activists opened two windows in the crown and pushed the banner out. ″They weren’t broken, the locks were picked,″ he said.

Another ranger pulled the banner in after about five minutes, he said.

At the same time, a 30-by-30-foot banner reading ″Abortion is health care - Health care is a right″ was draped from the observation deck at the top of the statue’s pedestal. It remained in place for about 20 minutes, Ramspacher said.

″Everybody loved it,″ Ramspacher said of visitors to Liberty Island. ″People applauded when they saw the banners. ... People were talking about it on the boat ride back, saying it was great.″

No arrests were made, Pilgrim said. But he said the activists could be charged with demonstrating without a permit, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $500 fine.

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