As a closing event to their 40 weeks of protests, anti-abortion group Love Life Charlotte planned a march of 7,000 demonstrators at A Preferred Women’s Health Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. A Preferred Women’s Health Center is one of the busiest abortion providers in the state of North Carolina.
Turn out on the day of the 1.5 mile march was approximately 1,500, according to Rewire, which has followed Love Life Charlotte and the 40 weeks of protests closely in their short documentary, Care in Chaos. In the documentary, director of A Preferred Women’s Health Center Calla Hales stated that the clinic has seen as many as 12,000 protesters in the past year and many of the anti-choice protesters present at the march drove hours to participate.
The anti-abortion protesters had a significant impact on the number of people seeking services. On a typical Saturday, A Preferred Women’s Health Center sees up to 80 patients a day. On the day of the protest, the clinic only scheduled 50 appointments but only 28 patients received services that day.
The clinic had twice as many escorts as usual on site the day of the march to provide safety and security for the patients of the clinic. As many as 60 volunteers stood against the protesters and chanted for them to leave.
In the weeks leading up to the march, the anti-choice group filed a lawsuit against the City of Charlotte for enforcing zoning laws and local ordinances which they claim violates their right to freedom of speech.
Pro-choice organizations consider the 40 days of action by anti-abortion group Love Life Charlotte to be a tactic of intimidation that aims to discourage patients from seeking abortions and instead direct them toward “crisis pregnancy centers” which seek to discourage women from obtaining an abortion. Many of these clinics do not have medical professionals on staff and lure patients into their facilities under false pretenses.
Media Resources: Rewire 12/2/17, 11/17/17; WFAE 12/2/17; WSOC 12/2/17