Summer of Choice: A Grassroots Response to Attacks on Clinics

VIDEO: Supporting Dr. Carhart

Dr. Mila Means, of the Kansas National Organization for Women (Kansas NOW), discusses the importance of demonstrating support for Dr. LeRoy Carhart as he opens up his own clinic in Germantown, Maryland yesterday (July 31st, 2011). Dr. Carhart is an abortion provider and was a good friend of Dr. George Tiller; in the face of Dr. Tiller’s murder, Dr. Carhart has stepped up unabashed and outspoken about the importance of abortion in today’s society, and supporting him as he continues to receive threats from anti-choice activists – as Dr. Means points out – is crucial for women’s rights. Momentum is building for a beautiful gathering of abortion rights supporters in Germantown, MD (near Washington, DC) July 31-August 7; click here for more information.

Operation Rescue has discovered an effective business model.  They are blazing a path across the nation and replicating their prior accomplishments without any pause for re-evaluation.  They stand by the credo “you simply don’t mess with success.”  They see no need to re-evaluate, no need to weigh the positives of their model against the negatives.  In their analysis, the positive of eliminating abortion within any given community within the United States of America far outweighs any negatives.  This remains true in spite of one obvious, truly horrific negative, which should create pause for any entrepreneur, no matter how successful his model.  That negative is the cold-blooded murder of an innocent, law-abiding physician.

Troy Newman, Operation Rescue President, and long time head of the organization, has no need to re-evaluate his path, because his organization has been statistically successful.  It has accomplished its goal of eliminating abortion in Wichita.  It has accomplished that goal driven by tenacity and resolve founded in an unwavering and unforgiving moral code.  It has accomplished its goal by thrusting itself upon an uncertain community.  Wichita blinked lazily and Operation Rescue responded by bringing the thunder of mercy upon an unsuspecting summer in one sleepy town.

The Summer of Mercy was the beginning of the end of the civility of the abortion debate in Kansas.  The Summer of Mercy brought it to a whole new level.  Wichita was taken under siege in July of 1991.  There is no other way to put it.  Thousands of people converged upon Dr. George Tiller’s clinic.  They laid down in the street, in front of cars. There were 2,700 arrests generated by the siege.  Operation Rescue is replicating this phase of their success.  The Summer of Mercy 2.0 is on its way to Germantown, Maryland.  If it’s anything like what occurred in Wichita, local residents better hold on tight.        

A grassroots pro-choice movement is being organized to gather in support and solidarity with Dr. Carhart.  It is being called The Summer of Choice.  The national legislative assault against women, combined with Operation Rescue’s declaration of war against one of our few remaining physicians accomplished in later term abortions brings clarity, focus and determination to our effort.  We do not intend to let Mr. Newman proceed with the next phase of his operation uninhibited.  We intend to stand for the women who wish to enter a medical clinic in Germantown and gain access to their legal right to health care.

I have travelled from Wichita, Kansas to stand with Dr. Carhart.  I have the memory of summers past and the stories of local feminists to remind me of the importance of this action.  My hope is that the Germantown community will stand with me in opposition to a business model that simply cannot be allowed to continue.  Success often comes with a price, the key is to judge it against all costs associated with it. No business should be allowed to succeed at the hand of a murderer, with the creation of mayhem and through the harassment of women.     

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