Yesterday marked the fourth day of a week-long anti-abortion protest led by Operation Save America in Birmingham, Alabama. Senior field staff from the Feminist Majority Foundation stationed in Alabama report that no major activity has disrupted any of the targeted clinics.
The stated purpose of the protest, called “Back to Birmingham,” is to close the remaining two clinics in Birmingham. Yesterday, a small number of protestors gathered outside the New Women, All Women health clinic. Police decided to shut down the street for public safety, despite concerns from clinic staff that doing so would severely restrict patients’ ability to access the clinic. Feminist Majority Foundation field organizers and clinic staff made several phone calls, finally resulting in the police captain’s decision to reopen the street.
A majority of the anti-abortion protestors in Alabama unexpectedly traveled to Tuscaloosa yesterday to hold a protest without a permit outside of the West Alabama Women’s Center, located near the University of Alabama’s campus. Around 120 protestors gathered, with some trespassing by entering the clinic’s parking lot and standing on clinic property. Gloria Gray, the clinic’s office manager, phoned police to alert them of the activity. When police arrived 20 minutes later, Gray went outside and spoke with police and one of Operation Save America’s lead organizers, David Lackey. Outrageously, police ordered Gray to enter the clinic, despite the fact that she was rightfully on clinic property. When Gray refused to reenter the clinic, police arrested her on misdemeanor charges. She posted bail immediately and was not booked in the jailhouse.
Lackey and other protestors who trespassed on the clinic property, however, were not arrested or given citations by local police.
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