"Operation Rescue, not in my community" was the call-and-response chant of the pink-clad abortion rights supporters outside Planned Parenthood.
More than a hundred people gathered along the sidewalk and in the parking lot of the clinic at 701 San Mateo NE on Friday, July 30. That's not so unusual. Passersby see large protests there every Good Friday [" The Abortion Battle," April 8-14, 2010] and smaller demonstrations year-round. This time, the gatherers were not hefting large posters of fetuses. Instead, the crowd had congregated to show support for the clinic and the people who work there. They sported pink shirts, carried pink signs and wore black armbands bearing the name of a murdered abortion doctor.
After Dr. George Tiller was shot and killed as he entered his Wichita church in May 2009, Dr. Curtis Boyd in Albuquerque began providing advanced abortion services in his stead. Abortion opponent Operation Rescue of Wichita, Kan., declared on operationrescue.org that Albuquerque is the new late-term abortion capital of the world in a five-part series posted at the end of April.
“We are just here to prayerfully and peacefully help women who are seeking abortions to choose life-affirming options.”
Tara Shaver, former intern for Operation Rescue
From Boyd's site: "Dr. Tiller was one of the few doctors in the United States who provided late-term abortions to women with severe fetal abnormalities or maternal health indications. His death has restricted women’s access to late-term pregnancy terminations ... ."
Two Operation Rescue interns, Tara Shaver and her husband Bud Shaver, came to Albuquerque to join up with Project Defending Life, headquartered about 50 feet from Planned Parenthood. The abortion opponents also protest outside Boyd's clinic on Lomas.
Tara Shaver said in a phone interview that she and her husband network with Operation Rescue but are employed by Project Defending Life. She assured that they have no intention of getting arrested or bringing anything negative to the community. “We are Christians and want to bring the message of life. We are just here to prayerfully and peacefully help women who are seeking abortions to choose life-affirming options.”
"Our patients are cruelly harassed.”“
Jenny Black, CEO of Planned Parenthood of New Mexico
She would not comment on her husband’s 2007 arrest after he entered Tiller’s church and spoke against him from the pulpit. Albuquerque has a huge abortion problem, she added, and they came here to step up the protests.
"Our patients are cruelly harassed," Jenny Black told the crowd. She's the CEO of Planned Parenthood of New Mexico.
The demonstration was inspired by 18-year-old Clayton Jarratt, who saw Operation Rescue targeting the Duke City and wrote a letter to Planned Parenthood asking how he could help. “Nearly everybody I've talked to has asked me the same question, that is, Why does an 18-year-old guy, barely out of high school, care at all about this?” he said. “What has kept me working along for the last month boils down to two things: My desire for social justice, and my understanding that society has to run on truth and reason.”
Lt. Gov. Diane Denish and Congressman Martin Heinrich sent representatives to read statements on their behalves. State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino attended, along with Rep. Ben Rodefer.
The clinic and Project Defending Life's offices are in City Councilor Rey Garduño's district. He was on Planned Parenthood's board for eight years, he said during his speech. His message: "We will push back as hard as we need to."