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Doctor Charged With Defacing Property of Anti-Abortion Protester

September 29, 1986

BARRINGTON, R.I. (AP) _ A doctor whose home is picketed frequently by anti-abortion protesters was arrested for allegedly spray-painting one of the protesters’ signs.

Dr. Marguerite Vigliani was charged Saturday with disorderly conduct and defacing property, both misdemeanors. She was released pending a court hearing Wednesday.

Ms. Vigliani, an obstetrician, declined to discuss the incident, which occurred shortly before noon when she returned home from delivering a baby. But she said she was fed up with the protesters who have picketed her home about 20 times since May.

″I think they are crazy people, religious fanatics,″ she said. ″I’ve tried to talk with them, but you can’t. They’re crazy. They just talk about killing babies and say the Rosary.

″The whole obscenity of this is that they are doing this in front of my home, invading my privacy,″ the doctor said. ″They are using my children as psychological hostages.″

The sign read: ″Equal rights for unborn babies.″ Another protester held a large sign as the couple’s daughter rode her bike outside their home. It read: ″Marguerite Vigliani kills babies.″

Mary Lou Camara of Tiverton, one of eight pickets from St. Charles Church in Providence who marched outside Ms. Vigliani’s Barrington home Saturday, said the doctor ″completely lost her self-control.″

Ms. Camara said Ms. Vigliani’s husband, Dr. David Clark, had come out of the house to take photographs of the protesters. Clark acknowledged he used an obscenity during an argument with the protesters.

″I’m a firm believer in the right to privacy,″ said Ms. Camara. ″But I feel the life of that unborn child takes precedence over the right to privacy.″

Ms. Vigliani said she has performed fewer than five abortions since going into private practice 2 1/2 years ago. But she said the protests only strengthen her pro-choice views.

″I’m going to resume abortions next week to pay my legal fees,″ she said. ″Every time I get picketed I’m going to perform abortions.″

Town Solicitor Stephen J. Carlotti is studying whether the town has the right to halt the protests.

″You’ve got a conflict between the right to privacy and the First Amendment right to free speech,″ Carlotti said. ″These are tough constitutional issues and they are made tougher by the subject matter.″

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