Former abortion worker on clinic rescue

Joan Appleton, former head nurse at the Commonwealth Clinic in Falls Church, Virginia (an abortion clinic):

“We had several rescues at our clinic. There was never any violence. One time we had 250 of them removed — there must have been more than 500 at the clinic that day. But there was no violence. I called some of my friends and asked them to come through the line of protesters, one at a time. ‘I’ll give you a Pap smear and charge you a nickel,’ I told them. That way, we could record business transactions during the days of protest and report to the media that the clinic was open for “business as usual”…..

There was no way our clients were going to come. So we planted a couple of women from NOW in a car in the parking lot. They pretended they were distraught, and so frightened by the protesters that they didn’t dare get out of the car. The media were all over, taping this whole thing.”

Lis Trouten, “It Wasn’t Supposed to Happen That Way.” Minnesota Christian Chronicle, January 19, 1995, pgs 1, 4, 5.

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Police kick pro-life protester unconscious, break another’s jaw

The The Indianapolis Star has an article about police violence against Operation Rescue demonstrators:

“Indianapolis police hope to handle the situation [of the Operation Rescue demonstrators] with more finesse than Atlanta police used in their city, where over 400 demonstrators were arrested this week and nearly 800 were arrested in earlier protests.

Bob Fierer, an Atlanta attorney representing Operation Rescue, said police brutality lawsuits will be filed in Atlanta, where he said police broke the jaw of an Indiana minister, Doyle Clark, and kicked another man unconscious. An Atlanta police captain denied the charges. He said police “have to use whatever pressure is necessary and condoned by the Atlanta Police Bureau” to get demonstrators into police wagons.”

The Indianapolis Star, October 8, 1988 in

Oliver Trager Abortion: Choice & Conflict (New York: Facts on File, 1993) 122

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Women took part in the Rescue movement

The Rescue movement took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Large crowds of people would block abortion clinic entrances and try to prevent women from going in. Pro-abortion rhetoric at the time claimed that pro-lifers were men threatened by women who wanted to deny women their rights. However:

“Significant numbers of women participated in mass demonstrations… In Operation Rescue’s “Siege on Atlanta” campaign during the 1988 National Democratic Convention, women comprised 40.7% of the pro-life activists who were arrested, which was typical during the 1980s and 1990s.”

Karissa Haugeberg Women against Abortion (Chicago, Illinois: University Of Illinois Press, 2017) 70

Today, most pro-lifers use less confrontational tactics.

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Juli Loesch on Operation Rescue and nonviolence

Juli Loesch, who helped organize sit ins with Operation Rescue, describes the organization’s commitment to nonviolence:

“Operation Rescue has a serious commitment to nonviolence: participants sign a pledge to refrain from engaging in verbal exchanges with abortion–bound women, clinic staffers, hecklers, or police. Operation Rescue people don’t carry picket signs. They are instructed not to shout or chant; the rules call for singing, praying, or maintaining a dignified silence…

Judging from the number of apparent “turnarounds” at the sites and the increasing numbers of women seeking help at pregnancy aid centers, Operation Rescue leaders are reasonably sure that 400 – 500 pregnant women and their children were indeed “rescued” in 1988 because of Operation Rescue efforts.”

Juli Loesch “Operation Rescue” Fidelity August 1988, 17

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