By Georgia Maclean, Field Intern
Dr. LeRoy Carhart’s clinic in Germantown, Maryland, is currently the target of the anti-choice movement lead by Operation Rescue. They have chosen to target Dr. Carhart because the procedures he performs include later-term abortions.
Troy Newman, the head of Operation Rescue, is notorious for encouraging violence against clinics and the harassment and stalking of abortion providers. While Newman and his followers try to act like they respect women and are peaceful protesters, there are links between the murder of Dr. Tiller in 2009 and Operation Rescue. As far as “respecting” women, yesterday Newman leaned out of his car as he drove by our peaceful presence and screamed, “I’m Troy Newman, bitch!” Last time I checked, bitch was a derogatory word to yell at woman — good work, Troy.
The antis in Germantown are lined up along the sidewalk outside of Dr. Carhart’s clinic. We (the dedicated pro-choicers) are down the street, on the same side of the sidewalk. They have their area and we have ours. On Monday morning, the antis arrived and started invading our designated space. They brought tons of children with them, ranging in age from a few months to about 14 years old. They had young teenage girls holding up signs that read, “The Pill Kills.” One mother had her one-year-old son helping her hold up a sign that read, “What about the baby’s choice?” — the irony being that this poor child surely did not want to stand out in the 100 degree heat holding up a sign when he could be playing or napping.
The antis paraded through our area mumbling Hail Marys and praying for our souls. Troy Newman was announced, as well as other prominent religious leaders and anti-choice terrorists, including Joe Scheidler and Patrick Mahoney. Some men came over and started shouting at us, and one would not stop ranting and trying to provoke us. But we held strong against their harassment, shaming and disregard for women’s bodily autonomy.
Please come join us in Germantown, and help us hold OUR signs that say, “Trust Women,” “Keep Abortion Legal,” “Family planning saves women’s lives,” “Abortion is healthcare. Healthcare is a right” and “We <3 Dr. Carhart.” We have had many honks of approval from cars passing by, while the antis had very few. As a resident of both Maryland and Montgomery County, I can say that we want this clinic in our community. The majority of Marylanders — and those across the U.S. — support a woman’s right to abortion, and we will not be bullied by a small minority of anti-choice fanatics using their faith as a mask for their terrorism.
The antis are expected to be out in full force in the coming days. If you believe in a woman’s right to chose and control her own body, join us in supporting Dr. Carhart. He is truly a hero who has sacrificed his own security to help women deal with unplanned and difficult pregnancies. Help us honor him by defending his clinic and thanking him for his life’s work
Thank you, Dr. Carhart.