Pro-Choice Activists Take a Stand

Here is the text of a leaflet distributed by the Bay Area Coalition to Stop Operation Rescue:

Pro-Choice Activists Take a Stand
Defend Women's Health Clinics
Stop "Operation Rescue"

What does "pro-choice" mean?

To be "pro-choice" means to support the right of people to their choices about such things as birth control, abortion, prenatal care, midwifery, infertility treatment, donor insemination, adoption, childcare, and sexual orientation.

To be "pro-choice" means to work to eradicate situations where people are not offered choices - as in forced sterilization, forced abortion, infant mortality, forced motherhood, rape, domestic violence, hunger, and the objectification of women's bodies.

Policies which deny choice are particularly directed toward low income people, people of color both in the U.S. and around the world, lesbians and gays, and immigrants. Reproductive choice is an integral part of a larger political struggle for self-determination.

What is B.A.C.A.O.R.?

The Bay Area Coalition Against Operation Rescue is a community coalition of pro-choice activists. BACOAR provides political and direct physical support for women's clinics targeted by anti-abortion blockaders. BACAOR is part of a nationwide public effort to stop "Operation Rescue" and to defend access to reproductive health services including abortion and birth control.

Abortion Facts Quiz

True or False (answers at end)

1. In the U.S., legal abortion in the first three months of pregnancy is seven times more safe than childbirth.

2. Getting a legal abortion does not endanger a woman's ability to bear children in the future.

3. Complications from botched illegal abortions is the leading cause of death of women of childbearing age in countries where abortion is illegal.

4. In the U.S., about 30% of all pregnant women choose to terminate their pregnancies; this amounts to more than 1.5 million abortions performed each year.

5. The vast majority of women who have had abortions do not regret their decision.

6. In the U.S., the majority of both Catholic and Protestants support legal abortion as a woman's choice.

7. The majority of "abortion clinics" offer many other services besides abortion, such as pregnancy tests, gynecology, infertility treatment, and pre-natal care.

8. Between 1984 and 1987, more than 77 abortion providers have been the targets of arson or bombings carried out by the anti-abortion movement in the U.S.

9. Wherever public funding for abortion is eliminated, sterilization rates for poor women and women of color increases dramatically.

10. Historically, governments and church hierarchies have tried to control sexuality and reproduction most strongly during periods leading up to major wars.


All are true! Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control (#1,2); International Reference Center for Abortion Research (#3); The Alan Gutmacher Institute (#4); National Abortion Federation (#5,7,8); Gallup Poll (#6); Committee to Defend Reproductive Rights (#9).

What is "Operation Rescue"?

Operation "Rescue" (OR) is a movement of right wing Christian Fundamentalists that aims to make abortion illegal and to take away reproductive rights in general. They claim that to prevent conception and birth is murder. OR uses a nationwide network of sympathetic churches to organize local followings. Periodically the group's leadership will arrive in a given city to launch a one-day to two-week series of actions against abortion providers. OR has launched attacks in six major cities since May 1988 with arrests ranging from 50-500 people.

OR is supported by and immersed in the broader circle of right wing Christian activists. Randall Terry, the group's leader, has appeared with Pat Robertson on the "700 Club". Recent P.T.L. support came from Jerry Falwell who donated $10,000 and officially called for the Christian community to support OR. Unlike most direct action groups who oppose the law, OR's tactics are applauded by the far right. The group has an excellent rapport with most local law enforcement agencies.

OR's leadership distributes false information on the medical and emotional side effects of abortion to their following and to pregnant women. They use sensationalistic films to convince Christians that OR's mission is to save lives (of unborn children) using "civil disobedience."

Don't be fooled by "Operation Rescue's" misuse of words. OR would more appropriately be named "Operation Harassment". "Pro-life" translates into "make women die" (from illegal abortions). And the civil disobedience of OR is just the opposite of the tradition developed by such leaders as Martin Luther King and Ghandi. Whereas genuine civil disobedience is done to promote freedom and liberation, blockading women's clinics is done to oppose reproductive rights and individual choice, to repress sexuality and to reverse the feminist movement's achievements.

You can help BACAOR protect women's clinics from right-wing harassment by getting involved in:

BACAOR planning meetings
phone networking
pro-choice actions
client escorting
emergency response network for clinic defense
early morning clinic watches
clinic vigils
media outreach and publicity
speakers bureau
fundraising / donations
data processing
video production
typesetting and printing
banner and sign making
letter writing

Support Your Rights! Contact BACAOR, 1820 Franklin St #45, Oakland, CA 94612, (415) 271-8030

What are the issues behind the right wing's attack on abortion?

Attacks on abortion rights are taking place in a climate of growing repression and reactionary political maneuvering: AIDS quarantine initiatives, racist violence, attacks on immigrants, opposition to sex education, increased gay bashing, harassment of youth of color in the name of a "war on drugs," increased Contra funding, and the promotion of Rambo-style patriotism.

Right-wing spokespeople reveal how they think abortion relates to their overall political agenda:

        "If women can get abortions, then how can we [men]
         control them any more?"

                -- an anti-abortionist explaining to the
                   press why he was picketing a women's

        "The abortion issue is the door through which many
         people come into conservative politics, but they
         don't stop there.  Their convictions against abortion
         are like the first in a series of dominoes.  Then we
         lead them to concern about sexual ethics and standards
         among young people.  This leads to opposition to
         secular humanism.  Then... we point out that secular
         humanism is identified as both the godfather and the
         royal road to socialism and communism which points the
         way to commitments to minimally regulated free
         enterprise at home and to aggressive foreign and
         military politics to counter the communist threat
         from Russia and its many surrogates."

                -- Richard Viguerie, right wing theorist
You can help replace this right wing agenda with a progressive one!
From: jaystein@kinky.Eng.Sun.COM (Jay Stein)
Subject: My experiences with Operation Rescue

I've just waded through about 600 articles in this newsgroup... quite a lot to digest. I didn't notice much from anyone who has been part of OR blockades or who works at clinics. Thought you might be interested in this one. (if not, there's always 'n' or 'j' or 'k' or...

I have been to several Operation Rescue blockades- in the DC area, New York and Richmond, Virginia. I've been on the front lines at clinics, at their prayer rallies and with their leaders. I've met Randall Terry, Keith Tucci and Bob Jewett. I've even attempted to have discussions with OR's members, who, though predominantly fundamentalist, attract other denominations as well. I've had more experience than I care to think about with what many PCers refer to as "Operation Oppress You" and "Operation Reschedule."

It should be pointed out that my presence is always on the clinics' behalf, but I do not confront OR members UNLESS they yell at me first and I'm in a bad mood. :-|

OR has exposed its real personality in true Orwellian fashion time after excruciating time. During DC Project II a woman was knocked to the ground and beaten in the face with a flashlight. Pictures were taken of this, but no action was taken because no one could identify the assailant. In New York, one man screamed at the top of his voice (and it was *very* loud) at women in the parking lot, "DON'T LET THEM KILL YOUR BABY! DON'T LET THEM KILL YOUR BABY!" I know that OR considers abortion murder. But I also know they think of themselves as compassionate, and there is no way those women thought he was being compassionate, even if he thought he was. Also in New York, I asked an OR woman what she thought about clinic bombings. Her response was ("I swear I'm not making this up" --Dave Barry) that it's okay as long as nobody's in the clinic. I briefly considered asking her where she lived and whether anyone was home, but figured she would miss the point. During DC PROJECT in Washington in 1989, a woman who approached the clinic told OR blockaders that she had had an abortion the previous day and that it was urgent for her to be able to go to her next-day followup exam. The blockaders' response: "There will be no babies killed here today!" (together with arrogant smirk of accomplishment). Even if this lady had been lying, who would consider that a compassionate response?

And while I'm kind of on the subject, let's talk non-violence. As we all know, non-violence is a mindset and it involves more than just not hitting people. Actually, OR is *not* nonviolent and Randall Terry himself has admitted that OR will employ non-violence as a "tactic" and if it fails, then it will be abandoned as a tactic. Quite a departure from the Martin Luther King style to which he loves to compare himself. Not that others in OR leadership are any better: Bob Jewett, Keith Tucci's bodyguard, has called PC women names I will not repeat on USENET. He has threatened to throw a rock through a car's windshield (with passengers inside) and I have the pictures to prove it. I personally have been screamed at, grabbed at and called a "devil." I have seen people hit and physically assaulted-the whole spectrum of assault applies here. OR PLers have pressed pictures of third-trimester abortions against the wihndshields of patients' cars while shouting 800-numbers. I'm sorry, but this is NOT non-violent.

OR's brand of pro-life activism claims to have equal respect for all life. One of them said explicitly that all HUMAN [emphasis mine] life is of infinite value to God. When I asked if he supported Capital punishment, his response was, "Of course." I suppose what he should have said was that all INNOCENT life is of infinite value. But then that leaves the nasty question of who defines innocence.

People in Operation Rescue seem to lack the emotional "database" required to make sense of how PCers think. This is not a slur, it simply means that nothing in their experience has prepared them for the possibility that someone might examine Christianity and still reject it. To a typical fundamentalist (and also to many Catholics) PCers know they are wrong but deliberately choose to be Evil. Also, to them, free will is actually a multiple choice exam - there is only one correct answer, but you are always free to pick the wrong one. As one person ironically put it, "God does not want robots."

As for the OR stance on birth control, it's no secret that the only one they endorse is NFP (I call it the MOMMIE method - use it and you'll be one). Actually, some won't even allow that- they want abstinence. I had a discussion with a gentleman who stated that (1)abstinence is the only acceptable form of birth control; and, (2)sex isn't just for procreation. Am I missing something or is there an inherent contradiction here?

Hmmm... I hadn't intended for this posting to be so long... I'll stop for now on the assumption that no one really cares and if I'm wrong someone will email or post a request for more. I have several pages in diaries about OR, I'm more than happy to share it.

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