By Erin Matson, NOW Action Vice President
Who are you going to call when Operation Rescue vows to shut down a clinic? The National Organization for Women.
Today and tomorrow the Nebraska and Kansas chapters of NOW, along with NOW members around the country, stand with Dr. LeRoy Carhart, an abortion provider and ardent defender of women’s fundamental right to the full range of reproductive health services.
Violent anti-abortion extremists are laying siege to Dr. Carhart’s suburban Omaha clinic this weekend — and NOW members are peacefully defending his clinic to let women know that lies, intimidation and threats will not stand in the way of trusting women with our own reproductive health.
As I type, NOW President Terry O’Neill is speaking at a press conference outside his clinic. She is standing with the women organized by volunteer Nebraska and Kansas NOW leaders working into the wee hours of the morning. O’Neill also is presenting just a small sample of the thousands of messages of heartfelt thanks and support that reproductive rights advocates have sent to Dr. Carhart and his staff via the NOW website.
Following Dr. George Tiller’s murder on May 31, NOW activists stood silently with candles in cities large and small to commemorate his life and dedication to women. This weekend we honor his heroic life and the continued heroism of his good friend Dr. Carhart by raising our voices peacefully. NOW activists from around the country are cramming into vans and driving for hours to get to Omaha, including a large contingent from DuPage County NOW, which is based in Illinois. The National NOW Action Center coordinated volunteer callers in Washington, D.C., to turn Nebraska NOW members out to defend his clinic. Some activists even donated frequent flier miles to send others to Nebraska.
I am overwhelmed by the strength, perseverance and passionate dedication of NOW’s grassroots activists. Thank you to Dr. Carhart and everyone who has donated their time to stand with him, the women he serves, and the Nebraska and Kansas chapters of NOW this weekend.