Anti-Choice Protests Target New Orleans Clinics, Homes, Churches

In the first few days of planned protests in New Orleans, anti-choice activists have disrupted the community by targeting reproductive health-care clinics, personal residences, and even houses of worship in the hopes of intimidating abortion providers and reproductive rights supporters.

Operation Save America protesters have focused primarily on harassing the staff, volunteers, and patients of reproductive health-care clinics.

The organization is targeting two New Orleans clinics that provide abortion care, a construction site where a Planned Parenthood facility is being built, and the home of a physician who is an abortion provider. Other locations throughout the city have also seen protesters, including along busy streets.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu came under criticism for issuing a proclamation recognizing Operation Save America, thoug that proclamation was retracted Tuesday. “It is customary for the city to provide standard proclamations to visiting groups that request them through the city’s website,” Tyler Gamble, a spokesperson for Mayor Landrieu, told the Uptown Messenger. “To be clear, the city does not endorse extreme or violent tactics, and this proclamation was issued in error.”

According to reports, there was a protest staged inside the First Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, interrupting a memorial service for a church member who recently died. The anti-choice protesters denounced the denomination, and referred to the church as a “synagogue of Satan.”

Protesters held a “wake” for what was said to be an aborted fetus in Jackson Square. Arriving around 10:00 Tuesday morning, participants gathered around a white box said to contain “a very large fetus.” The protesters named the fetus “Amos,” and claimed that it came from outside of New Orleans.

During the demonstration, protest director Flip Benham said to the crowd, “In 1995 there were ten abortion clinics in New Orleans, now there is just one [sic]. Our prayer is that the last one will be closed and that the Planned Parenthood under construction will never be built.”

The protesters are no strangers to law enforcement. “Many of us have just come from jail after being arrested protesting at other abortion mills,” Benham told the NOLA Defender.

The Causeway Medical Clinic, one of the two clinics that provide abortion care in New Orleans, was the target of protesters Saturday. The Times-Picayune reported that there were 55 protesters; clinic volunteers told RH Reality Check that there were as many as 75.

Stephanie White, a volunteer escort at the clinic, told RH Reality Check that the situation was intimidating and overwhelming. “In the beginning I was very overwhelmed,” said White. “But by the end I was just annoyed and really angry.”

White says protesters gathered on the sidewalk only a few feet away from the clinic; one male protester used a megaphone to proselytize. The protesters attempted to engage with both patients and escorts. White says that men who entered the clinic with women companions had their masculinity questioned by protesters.

“It’s a hard enough choice to do this in general,” said White. “I was extremely offended that someone would show up and scream at someone as they are walking out of the clinic after getting a very personal procedure.”

Elizabeth Brusseau, who lives in the neighborhood of the physician whose home was the target of protesters, told RH Reality Check that between 20 and 30 people gathered near the physician’s home on Saturday. “If you had never been there before you would have thought it was an abortion clinic they were protesting,” said Brusseau.

The protesters, which included children, held signs with pictures that depicted fetuses, and arrows identifying the physician’s home. They gathered on the sidewalk on both sides of the street, and on the median that separates northbound and southbound traffic.

Brusseau says that when she and her mother joined a small group of people from the neighborhood who were there to show support, they also became a target of the protesters. According to Brusseau, a male protester using a megaphone verbally attacked them. “He accused me of doing lines of cocaine every morning and [said] that I was only mad that they were there because I had abortions myself. He asked my mother if I had a father and accused her of having children out of wedlock,” said Brusseau. “They said all kinds of very nasty things.”

Reproductive rights advocates told RH Reality Check that local law enforcement have maintained a constant presence in the protest zones, stretching thin a police force that also has to respond to violent crime on a daily basis.

The protests come in the wake of legislative efforts to reduce access to reproductive health care in Louisiana, which pro-choice advocates report are already having a negative impact on reproductive health.

Organizer Rusty Thomas told the Times-Picayune that Operation Save America was encouraged by a new Louisiana law, which opponents say will likely shut down three of the five abortion clinics in the state.

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  • StealthGaytheist

    If only these freaks could get a hobby that would actually help people.

    • jeff725

      Their hobby is “look at me, I’m protesting.”

  • lady_black

    These people are stone liars, and they will do ANYTHING to accomplish their goals. I have no idea where they got this “fetus” but his remark that they usually find them in dumpsters outside clinics is demonstrably FALSE. Human remains and/or body parts and anything contaminated with blood, including fetal remains, are biohazard waste and must be handled according to laws. Red-bagging and proper storage until a special pick-up can be arranged is familiar to anyone working in any health-care setting. Even housekeeping staff. If this man (or anyone else) found such things in dumpsters, that would be like finding a golden ticket to shutting a clinic down by the health department.

    • vulgarism

      Apparently this is from an “abortion mill” in Michigan, but these look like late term stillbirths

      • lady_black

        HOW DID THEY GET THEM??? If they came from a dumpster, they weren’t placed there by any health care facility.

        • BelligerentBruncher

          I bet you were skeptical of Kermit Gosnell’s story when you first heard of that.

          Sometimes bad people do bad things.

          • lady_black

            Gosnell wasn’t operating a law-abiding clinic. And he wasn’t putting fetal remains in dumpsters.

          • BelligerentBruncher

            Yeah, he was just improperly storing them around the office.

          • vulgarism

            Hey. We can’t all be neat freaks.

          • BelligerentBruncher

            I’m a total slob when it comes to disposing my own medical waste…if you know what I mean.

            Edit: I don’t know what I mean.

          • vulgarism


          • fiona64

            No one knows what you mean. Ever.

          • lady_black

            I don’t know about that.

          • Shan

            I believe it was in the grand jury report.

          • BelligerentBruncher


            “[F]etal remains [were] haphazardly stored throughout the clinic– in
            bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons, and even in cat-food
            containers… Gosnell admitted to Detective Wood that at least 10 to 20
            percent… were probably older than 24 weeks [the legal limit]… In
            some instances, surgical incisions had been made at the base of the
            fetal skulls. The investigators found a row of jars containing just the
            severed feet of fetuses. In the basement, they discovered medical waste
            piled high. The intact 19-week fetus delivered by Mrs. Mongar three
            months earlier was in a freezer. In all, the remains of 45 fetuses were
            recovered … at least two of them, and probably three, had been viable”


          • lady_black

            That’s nasty. And illegal, except for the ones in the freezer. Of course, someone running an illegal operation with no medically licensed personnel (other than himself) wouldn’t particularly care about regulations regarding the disposal of biohazard waste, would they?

          • lady_black

            Oh, I stand corrected. I was under the impression that they were stored in freezers.

          • Shan


        • vulgarism
          • BelligerentBruncher

            That article is disturbing.

      • merryalto

        They mostly look like dolls in makeup to me. No licensed medical facility and no doctor would ever do such a thing as put human parts in a dumpster, never mind complete bodies. Most of those look large enough to be viable, which makes it highly unlikely that they would have been aborted intact, if indeed they were aborted, which is highly unlikely. Similar pictures and stories are posted over and over by these forced-pregnancy grouips, and when forced to explain where they found them they always admit that they’re fabrications.

  • BelligerentBruncher

    Protest at the clinic all you want.

    But stay away from their goddamned homes you idiots.

    • Shan

      That’s one of their favorite tactics. Some of them even track down where their kids go to school. They leaflet the neighborhoods, put “wanted” style posters up, etc., with their names, photographs, addresses and phone numbers.

      When Julie Burkhart opened up the South Wind Women’s Center in Dr. Tiller’s former facility, anti-abortion protesters picketed her house. One of them, a pastor named Mark Holick (against whom Burkhart had a restraining order issued) protested there with a sign that read “Where’s your church?”

      • fiona64

        But they aren’t domestic terrorists … oh, no sirree …

        • Shan

          Right. And Angel “check under your car every day” Dillard was only exercising her free speech rights. *eyeroll*

    • vulgarism

      The antis give out the home addresses and phone numbers of abortion doctors and their patients.

  • fiona64

    “Operation Save America,” aka Operation Rescue, is nothing but a terrorist organization.

  • batlcrewzer

    “According to reports, there was a protest staged inside the First Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday, interrupting a memorial service for a church member who recently died.”
    By the lords of Kobal these inbreeds are here-by welcome to protest the next funeral of any damn body at my church in north St. Louis. There will be many weeping and gnashing of the teeth. And it won’t be the grieving family.

  • laugh or retch

    Protesting at a memorial service? They learn that from the westboro freaks or is it the other way around?

  • Chris Herz

    These same wackos are already attacking contraception. Next will they call for female circumcision?

    • catseye

      Goddess save us; DON’T give them ideas!