Anti-abortion extremists invaded three reproductive health clinics in Sterling Heights, Michigan; Alexandria, Virginia; and Albuquerque, New Mexico on Friday September 15, by entering the facilities and refusing to leave.
Four people were arrested at the Michigan clinic and six people were arrested in Virginia. No arrests were made at the New Mexico clinic.
Anti-choice extremist group CreatedEqual issued a press release concerning the invasions. The storming of the clinics appeared to be a coordinated effort with other anti-choice groups. Life Site News reported that a total of ten protesters were arrested in the invasions on Friday and listed the names of the individuals who were arrested in Virginia and in Michigan, included two priests, one of whom works for Priests of Life, and several long time anti-abortion extremists.
Over the summer, Operation Rescue/Operation Save America (OR/OSA) organized a blockade of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, the sole clinic providing abortion services in the state of Kentucky. In May, 10 people were arrested after blocking the entrance to the clinic. Among those arrested was Rusty Thomas, leader of OSA, who has publicly advocated for punishing women who obtain abortions by charging them with murder. Anti-choice protesters hurled insults and inflammatory images at the women who walked by on a daily basis. OSA escalated their protests in July by organizing a mass blockade with plans to bring hundreds of protesters.
Tara and Bud Shaver, who are listed on the CreatedEqual press release as contacts for Albuquerque, New Mexico, are campaigning to make New Mexico an abortion free state. They were commissioned by Operation Rescue in 2010 to move to Albuquerque, where one of the targeted clinics is located. The Shavers are now working with Project Defending Life, which works in cooperation with Operation Rescue.
Media Resources: Huffington Post 9/15/17; Feminist Newswire 7/20/17,7/17/17; Created Equal 9/15/17; Life Site News 9/15/17