This Clinic Stays Open! Defending Dr. Carhart
In the wake of the assassination of courageous abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in the foyer of his church on May 31, anti-women forces have now declared Dr. LeRoy Carhart “target number one.” Several of these organizations called for a mobilization on August 28 – 29 to shut down Dr. Carhart’s clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska. Over 100 women and men traveled from 16 states to defend Dr. Carhart, his clinic, patients and staff from these patriarchal misogynists who want to keep women enslaved and subservient. Those who came to support and defend the clinic outnumbered the reactionary anti-women protesters by more than 2 to 1 – one of the largest pro-choice clinic defense mobilizations in years.
After outnumbering the dozen or so (if that) anti-‘s who showed up on Friday, we got out to the clinic at 5am to defend it on Saturday, the main day that Operation Rescue had called for their action. After lining the sidewalk in front of the clinic for a couple hours, cops moved in, spray painted lines down the middle of the street, and forced us to move from the front of the clinic to give all of the public sidewalk and street to the anti-‘s – threatening to jail anyone who crossed the spray painted lines. Shortly after this, a large group of cops in riot gear emerged from a public school parking lot, though they never came across the street to the clinic.
After hearing about this outrageous bullshit, Dr. Carhart invited us onto the clinic property to defend it. We lined the edges of the property wearing his “Trust Women” shirts, with our backs to the anti-‘s. When they tried to shout down and videotape the patients, we drowned them out with chants of “Welcome! Welcome! This clinic stays open!”
Debra Sweet, National Director of World Can’t Wait, who was instrumental in organizing the clinic defense, made a statement from the clinic parking lot while we were defending it:
Even though the police completely blocked the street in front of and next to the clinic to traffic, they allowed the anti-‘s to drive their fetus porn truck all the way up the blockaded street to the edge of the clinic parking lot. So some of the clinic defenders countered it with a pro-choice truck of our own, made on the spot (Thanks for the pic Colleen!).
There were never more than 50 anti-‘s there, and by noon they had dwindled to a handfull in front of the clinic and near a street corner. We stayed in force to defend the clinic till it closed. World Can’t Wait brought a huge banner reading “Dr. Carhart is a Hero,” and at the end of the day many people signed it to be presented to Dr. Carhart.
At the end of the day, Dr. Carhart waved and thanked us from the clinic door.
Read more about the defense of Dr. Carhart’s clinic here.Posted in Thoughts
Tags: Abortion, Bellevue, clinic defense, Debra Sweet, Dr. LeRoy Carhart, Nebraska, pro-choice, Women's liberation, Womens rights, World Can't Wait