Abortion rights activists
mobilize to defend clinic
Nebraska action responds to rightists threat
Defense line outside funeral of Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, June 6. Tiller, who operated abortion clinic there, was killed while attending church by antiabortion rightist May 31.
BY MAGGIE TROWE
DES MOINES, IowaThe August 28-29 mobilization to counter an attempt by antiabortion outfits to shut down a clinic in Bellevue, Nebraska, received a boost August 21 with the backing of the National Organization for Women.
Defend Dr. Carharts clinic! Women need you in Nebraska! said Terry ONeill, National Organization for Women (NOW) president, in a statement posted on NOWs Web site and e-mailed to members.
In response to Dr. Carharts August 3 announcement that he intends to open a clinic providing late-term abortions in the Wichita, Kansas, area, Operation Rescue, joined by Rescue the Heartland and Nebraskans United for Life, announced a Keep It Closed campaign targeting Carhart. The rightist outfits say they will hold a pro-life rally and street activism at Carharts clinic in Bellevue, outside of Omaha.
NOW groups in Kansas and Nebraska took the initiative to call a mobilization to defend the clinic. The showdown will take place just three months after Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was gunned down by an antiabortion rightist.
Dr. Carhart saves womens lives, and we need to stand with abortion providers like Dr. Carhart to say that his life is precious, too, ONeill wrote. Please join me in Nebraska to stand with a man whose compassion and dedication make it possible for women to own their lives.
Erin Sullivan, president of Nebraska NOW, reports that there will be round-the-clock clinic defense and a local church will provide housing. Potluck dinners will be served for clinic defenders each night. The pro-choice activities will begin with a sign-making party on August 27.
The breadth of participation in the two days of clinic defense is growing.
In Chicago, a couple dozen defenders of a womans right to choose abortion are already signed up for caravans organized by DuPage NOW. Illinois Planned Parenthood and the Chicago Abortion Fund are also calling on members to attend.
Missouri NOW is building the action, and South Dakota abortion rights defenders will be heading south to Omaha, reports Tiffany Campbell on the Kansas NOW Facebook page. Des Moines supporters of womens rights are building a caravan as well.
Five students from Austin, Minnesota, including several who have helped organize two counterprotests against anti-immigrant actions by Nazi outfits in that city, are planning to drive to Bellevue.
In Minneapolis, the Womens Student Activist Committee at the University of Minnesota sent out information to their e-mail list and organized two meetings to publicize defense of the clinic. The campus Black Student Union is alerting its members about the mobilization. As a result several students are planning to join a caravan from the city.
Diana Newberry from Minneapolis and Betsy Farley and Laura Anderson from Chicago contributed to this article.
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