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Anti-Abortion Center Opens Near Dr. Carhart’s Clinic

Two anti-abortion groups, Operation Rescue of Wichita, Kansas and Maryland Coalition for Life, have rented the building across the street from the Reproductive Health Services Clinic in Germantown, MD to open what appears to be a crisis pregnancy center (CPC). Both groups have focused on this clinic ever since Dr. Carhart, who worked with the murdered Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas, announced in December 2010 that he would be offering abortions there.

Since December, Operation Rescue has staged demonstrations and indicated their intent to pursue anti-abortion legislation to shut down the clinic and restrict abortion in the state. The opening of a facility right across the street from the Germantown Clinic has pro-choice advocates concerned. Scott Roeder, who was convicted of murdering Dr. Tiller testified at his trial that he tried to steer abortion patients away from Tiller’s clinic to the CPC next door.

Troy Newman, president of Wichita-based Operation Rescue, stated, “We wanted to do more than just ask women not to abort their babies. We wanted to provide them with practical assistance, spiritual guidance, and true friendship so that abortion would no longer be an option.” Operation Rescue launched targeted demonstrations and so-called “street counseling” at Dr. Carhart’s Bellevue, Nebraska clinic in August 2009. Troy Newman of Operation Rescue has led a multi-group campaign called “Keep it Closed” that aimed to ensure Dr. Carhart did not open a late abortion clinic in Kansas or Nebraska.

A Feminist Majority Foundation Survey found that 32.7 percent of clinics located near a CPC experience one or more incidence of severe violence, compared to only 11.3 percent of clinics not near a CPC.

Sources:

Maryland Gazette 3/30/11; The Washington Post 3/28/11; Maryland Coalition for Life Press Release 3/31/11; Statement of Operation Rescue 3/28/11

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