Students Defend Abortion Clinic

Join Women's Groups in Saturday Clash With Operation Rescue

Attempts by Operation Rescue to block a Boston-area women's health clinic Saturday met with strong opposition from local abortion-rights groups.

Over 100 pro-choice activists gathered in front of the Gynecare clinic on Tremont Street, one of the expected targets, according to Boston Police. Over 50 Harvard students participated in the clinic defense, according to co-president of Harvard-Radcliffe Students for Choice Lily J. Shapiro '93.

"It was a success for the pro-choice movement because we kept the clinic open and let women keep their appointments," Shapiro said.

In response to Operation Rescue, the Boston chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) began organizing "clinic defenses" at women's clinics throughout Boston as early as last month.

The aim of a clinic defense is to prevent a clinic from being blocked and to conduct women into the building, said Eileen M. Roche, a member of NOW's media committee.

"Do not harm people, do not touch people," saidRoche of the nonviolent methods employed forclinic defense. "The whole point of this is tokeep access to clinics open for people who need toor want to get in."


About 100 Operation Rescue members were presentat the Crittendon Hastings House and Clinic inBrighton, according to an unofficial count.

Some carried signs bearing graphic depictionsof mutilated fetuses and slogans such as "Americathe unbeautiful."

And several hundred yards from the clinic, agroup of Operation Rescue activists engaged inprayer.

"We picketed clinics even before Rescue wasaround," said one woman, who joined OperationRescue with her husband and five children.

"I felt in my heart that God wanted me to dosomething to help other women," said the woman,who requested anonymity. "I want other women torealize that it is a baby and it is a life."

Despite attempts by Operation Rescue to blockentrance to the clinic, a clinic escort team wasable to conduct about 30 women inside, accordingto Sara E. Bennett, vice president of WellesleyWomen for Choice at Wellesley College.

Operation Rescue leaders disputed Bennett'sfigures and called their effort a success.

The date for the "clinic rescue," as it iscalled by the national anti-abortion group, waschosen to mark the one-year anniversary of thearrest of local Operation Rescue leader WilliamCotter