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Last Clinic Standing
Posted on Jul 13, 2006
Editor’s note: An extremist pro-life organization that helped make doctors the targets of deadly attacks in the 1990s is now mobilizing a protest to shutter the last abortion clinic in Mississippi. With reproductive rights under assault across the country, pro-choice activist Sunsara Taylor reports on the high-stakes battle about to take place in Jackson, Miss.
After years of violently blockading abortion clinics, terrorizing women and doctors, and agitating for biblical rule, there is a smug sense of triumphalism coming from the pro-life organization Operation Save America/Operation Rescue.
Between July 15 and 20, OSA/OR will be staging an extended protest in Jackson, Miss., aimed at closing the state?s last abortion clinic—a move the group hopes will ?send a message? to abortion providers and lawmakers throughout the country.
(Check out a video in which the group?s president, Flip Benham, talks with unabashed glee about shuttering the ?abortion mill.?)
Operation Rescue, you may remember, was the organization responsible for the infamous ?No Place to Hide? campaign during the 1990s that distributed the home addresses and travel routines of abortion providers in the period before the first killing of an abortion doctor. (Background here and here)
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On the other hand, polls indicate that most of the U.S. population still believes women should have the right to abortion. And if pro-choice people respond decisively, this week?s protests in Mississippi (and counter-protests, which I will be joining) could serve as a rallying point for millions to not only push back against this assault on abortion but to unleash a movement against the whole Bush program of repression, empire and theocracy?a movement capable of driving out the regime.
But any effective response hinges on abandoning the paralyzing and demobilizing search—led by the Democratic Party and far too many pro-choice ?leaders?—for a mythical ?reasonable center position? or ?common ground? with the anti-abortion movement.
Besides, a fetus is not a baby. With its assault on basic science, including evolution, and its intentionally misleading and grotesque signs, the fundamentalist movement has misled many into imagining that aborted fetuses are cute little babies just waiting to be cuddled. In fact, 90% of abortions take place when the fetus is no longer than this string of o?s: oooooooooooooo. Since there is no way these fetuses could become fully formed, independent human beings except as a subordinate part of a woman?s overall biological processes for nine months, declaring that they all should be preserved means reducing women to incubators and slaves to their biology.
In some ways, OSA/OR does us a favor by being more open about its views than its brethren in the White House, Congress and, increasingly, the judiciary under the Bush regime. One of Operation Save America?s T-shirts reads: ?Homosexuality is a sin. Islam is a lie. Abortion is murder.?
Less known, but perhaps more revealing: OSA/OR?s office space was donated by Lincoln Log Homes International, whose CEO, Richard Schoff, was once a leader of Indiana?s Ku Klux Klan. Fittingly, a picture of the famous segregationist George Wallace hangs in the hall not far from OSA/OR?s door.
** ?Preaching From a Pulpit of Bones: We Need Morality but Not Traditional Morality? by Bob Avakian, 1999, Pages 15-16
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