Let’s start with a little background information: In the summer of 1991, Operation Rescue hosted an extremist sit-in protest in front of Dr. Tiller’s abortion clinic in Wichita, KS. The protesters did everything in their power to keep patients from getting in to see Dr. Tiller. They harassed and intimidate women who were already in less than ideal situations, intending to thwart these women from acting on their decisions. All this was because Dr. Tiller provided late term abortions. In 2009 Dr. Tiller was fatally shot by an anti-abortion radical. Tiller’s former protégé Dr. LeRoy Carhart was left as one of a few doctors still publicly willing to perform late term abortions.
Dr. Carhart originally worked out of his office in Nebraska, but after the state passed laws banning terminations after 20 weeks gestation he moved his practice to Germantown, MD. He now flies in from his home in Nebraska every week to provide a needed service to women with few other options. Operation Rescue has decided to revisit old techniques and is sponsoring “Summer of Mercy 2.0” outside of Dr. Carhart’s Germantown office.
Pro-choice activist from around the country have issued a resounding show of support for Dr. Carhart; planning a counter “Summer of Choice” demonstration. Numerous feminist organizations have shown support for the event including NOW and Feminist Campus. The events started on Sunday July 31st with a kick-off walk that functioned as a fundraiser for the Abortion Access Fund. Throughout the rest of the week, participants have worked in shifts demonstrating in support of abortion rights. According to participants, as of Wednesday afternoon abortion rights advocates outnumbered the anti-abortionists by more than 4-1.
While the pro-choice activists have done their best to maintain a peaceful presence; it seems the anti-abortion activists are not on the same page. According to participants, one anti-abortion protester was heard saying “Them cops over there got guns, orta use ‘em to come over here ‘n shoot the baby killer.” Sound familiar? It should, similar things were said about Dr. Tiller prior to someone actually shooting him. Others witnessed Operations Rescue’s president Troy Newman running in and out of traffic in an attempt to take pictures of the pro-choice demonstrators. One of the demonstrators was pregnant and had taken a break when she noticed him trying to photograph her. In her concern over him getting hit by a car she asked who he was. His response was “I’m Troy Newman b**ch.” Classy, huh? What I don’t get is how cursing at people and encouraging people to shoot a doctor is in any way a show of “mercy.”
The pro-choice demonstration has shifts going through Monday August 8th corresponding with the time Operation Rescue says they will be there. To sign up for a shift or make a donation to the Abortion Access Fund, visit the Summer of Choice website. If you have already attended or are planning to attend, tell us about your experience! Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook.