WOMEN'S HEALTH CLINIC DIRECTOR ARRESTED FOR CURSING. OPERATION RESCUE ALLOWED TO TRESPASS WITHOUT ARREST. When is it against the law to curse on your own private property? When you're the director of a woman's health clinic in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Operation Rescue protesters have invaded your parking lot, that's when.
At least that's what clinic staff say happened on Tuesday, July 17, to Gloria Gray, director of the Western Alabama Women's Center, when she confronted antiabortion protester David Lackey in the clinic parking lot, and defied a policeman's order to go back inside the clinic. Rachel Joy Larris at Real Women, Real Voices has the poop, including an exclusive interview with Lorrie Foss-McGaha, a registered nurse at the Western Alabama Women's Center who gives her first-person account of Gray's arrest. (Full disclosure: Larris is my colleague at the National Women's Editorial Forum, where I serve as research director.)
The protest at the Tuscaloosa clinic came as a bit of a surprise, since the group's permit for a public gathering was issued for the following day, July 18. Less surprising was the group's protest, announced earlier, in front of the New Woman All Women clinic in Birmingham -- the clinic where Eric Robert Rudolph killed one person and seriously injured (and permanently disabled) another when he detonated a bomb spiked with nails outside the clinic.
Tonight, Operation Rescue/Operation Save America will celebrate with a rally featuring Roy Moore, the disgraced former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who is known for refusing a court order to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments -- which he commissioned -- from the rotunda of the state's Justice Department building. Moore is a fitting choice: Like Rudolph, he apparently sanctions violence against gay and lesbian people. In an opinion on the custody rights of a lesbian couple, Moore wrote:
The 30-page opinion called homosexuality "detestable and abominable" and an "inherent evil" that goes against biblical scripture and Alabama law. Moore’s document specified that in Alabama, those who break the law are subject to "confinement and even execution. [The state] must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle."
The actions taken by the righties in Alabama are part of Operation Save America/Operation Rescue's annual attempt to shut down targeted clinics for a week at a time. Taking place concurrently are similar actions in Witchta, Kansas, where abortion provider Dr. George Tiller has been targeted personally. Tiller survived being shot twice by wingnut Shelley Shannon of the terrorist organization Army of God. He's been the longtime target of former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, who was recently deposed by the Kansas electorate after he subpoenaed the medical records of women who had obtained abortions in Tiller's clinic.
But, back to Alabama... Who says there's no such thing as trickle-down? Looks like when the executive branch suspends habeas corpus, local cops assume free rein to put the gag on mouthy broads.
--Adele M. Stan
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