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Abortion Without Apology

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To the editors:

Karen Hoffman Nolan's article "Gauntlet" on abortion clinic escorting [June 1] points out the widely divergent politics and strategies within the pro-choice movement in this country.

The Pro-Choice Alliance [PCA] mistakenly believes that demonstrators should not confront the antiabortionists at clinics. Indeed, according to the article by Nolan, they should remain silent with their hands in their pockets. This strategy is absolutely wrong and disastrous to building the numbers, morale, and confidence of pro-choice forces. Our purpose in being at the clinics should be to defend the clinic from closure and to confront the Right-to-Life. While we support escorting individuals into the clinics, we have a larger ultimate goal. We want to demoralize these self-righteous, bible thumping lunatics so they understand that WHENEVER they try to blockade a clinic, they will be met by a loud and militant group of pro-choice women and men who will attempt to stop them.

Pro-choice forces should be positioned directly in front of the clinic--not on the corner or on the other side of the street as Nolan reports in her story. Why? Simply put, we want to control the entrance to the clinic so women can get in. We need to have a militant picket to keep the "antis" away from the entrance. In addition, we should chant and shout loudly into the faces of the Right-to-Life when necessary to drive them away. We should carry signs.

On the morning that Concorde Clinic was hit, the Pro-Choice Alliance was not the only organization there. Members of the Emergency Clinic Defense Coalition and the International Socialist Organization arrived to defend the clinic. The escorts were attempting to escort women through the gauntlet, and those who were not escorting were standing on the sidewalk across the street. The PCA members were told by their leaders not to block the sidewalk and to stand against a building--and yet the antis were both blocking the sidewalk and picketing in front of the clinic, which made it almost impossible for women to get in! The police, who Nolan described as "cheerful" and "friendly," allowed the clinic to be shut down for two hours. They stood around doing nothing or policed the pro-choice people while a crime was being committed by the antis. This is why we cannot rely on the police to do our work for us.

The ISO and ECDC set out to change this scenario as best we could. We started a picket line with loud chanting. We also confronted and forced several antis to leave our side of the walk. Later in the morning, three bible-wielding Right-to-Lifers tried to get on our side of the walk and preach. The nerve! They were immediately surrounded and drowned out with the chant "racist, sexist, anti-gay, born-again bigots go away!" Humiliated, they were forced to leave. This is the kind of reception the anti-abortionists should get whenever they show their faces.

Nolan concludes her article saying "I volunteer as a clinic escort because I want to participate in something I consider critically important--ensuring women's right to control their bodies and their lives. The antiabortion demonstrators volunteer for reasons they consider just as crucial--saving unborn human lives. I can recognize the validity of both sides. . . ."

Sorry Karen, but the antis don't have any valid reasons for blockading abortion clinics. You concede the entire pro-choice argument if you believe that. Abortion is not murder--a fetus is not a human life! Abortion without apology!

Helen Redmond

Chicago

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