The War Womb (Part II)

For every direct action against an abortion clinic staged by Operation Rescue, expect an equal and opposite reaction by the Bay Area Coalition for Our Reproductive Rights.

Weide marches right through the ranks and walks directly up to Jeff White, who is again being interviewed by a TV reporter, and stands behind him.

"Operation Rescue believes in nonviolent protest," White is saying to the reporter.

"TELL THE TRUTH JEFF," Weide shouts.
"We're here to show all Americans that FACE is an un-American law. My track record is..."

"YOU HAVE PEOPLE HERE WHO HAVE SIGNED A DEATH PENALTY FOR DOCTORS!"
"My track record is stellar in regards to the issue of violence," White continues. "We have..."

"YOU HAVE PEOPLE HERE WHO HAVE PUBLISHED A LIST CALLING FOR THE KILLING OF DOCTORS, YOU CAN'T GET AWAY WITH CALLING YOURSELVES NONVIOLENT, PRAY BY DAY, BOMB BY NIGHT, THAT'S WHAT IT'S ABOUT, PRAISE THE LORD, PASS THE AMMO!"

"We have 72,000 arrest without a single incident of violence at an Operation Rescue event..."

"YOU KNOW THAT'S A LIE, THAT'S SUCH A LIE!"
"... and there is no other civil disobedieCR>nce group in the country that has that kind of record," White tries to finish. But the TV reporter can't hear him over Weide. She motions for White to move down the street where maybe they can start over.

"DON'T YOU LIKE INTIMIDATION, JEFF?" Weide cries and follows right behind.
On the other side of the clinic, McEwen and Sam and Erin avoid the teal FMF women and hold a banner of a woman with her fist raised and the words "We'll Never Go Back." Everyone's videotaping, just in case someone gets sued or accused of breaking the law. Police have cameras, the clinic has cameras, FMF has cameras and note-takers and legal observers, and BACORR's McEwen has a camera, too. When Paul deParrie starts filming her, she films back and flicks her tongue, fellating the air. "Are you getting a chubby? Are you?" she says to deParrie.

An OR woman walks down the sidewalk herding teens and children wearing Missionaries to the Pre-Born T-shirts: Two are the 12- and 13-year old daughters of Jeff White, who will soon be facing arrest.

"BAAHHH. BAAHHH," McEwen bleats after the youngsters in her best sheep imitation.

"I've already been reprimanded," McEwen says to me, complaining about the folks in FMF.

"They, like, want to punish people for talking back to the antis," she says. "They don't want us confronting anyone. But look at how close they let OR get to the clinic? I saw six clients come in the back, and there were these OR people on their knees praying, and if this was up to us, we wouldn't let that go on; this is about getting clear access, I'm talking about, if you're in the way I'm going to move your ass so women can get in. But I move them, and I go to jail."

A quiver of OR followers is indeed praying with rosaries near the back of the clinic. But they haven't escaped Weide. The White interview concluded, Weide deploys over their bowed heads a series of placards - cartoon balloons filled with sarcastic dialogue.

"Fetus Schmetus, when do I get to hit the girl?" the fiCR>rst cartoon balloon says.

White ignores Weide; he's been through this before. Weide flips a few more signs above him: "Oh Lord, I feel a temptation comin' on," and "I have a fetus fetish," they say.

At the front of the building, meanwhile, Erin is rumbling with a gray-haired man who's talking fetal rights and the Constitution. Erin has told him she had a baby four years ago, when she was 17, so she knows what motherhood is all about.

"Good for you," he says.
"Fuck you," she says back.
And Sam has attached herself to Pro-Life Anderson.

"Caution," says the bubble she holds over his head. "Foaming fanatics," the sign says.

"This is not about following the rules," McEwen tells me as we drive back toward downtown L.A.

McEwen munches McDonald's french fries and describes why BACORR does what it does. The Roverside demo ended peaceably by 10 a.m., and OR left in a car caravan to picket an abortion doctor at his home in Santa Ana.

BACORR packed up, too; they're plotting "to make some noise" back at the Norwalk church rally No. 2, slated for this evening. They need to make new signs, write press releases, and regroup at a BACORR supporter's condo, where everyone is crashing.

"I mean, I didn't start this shit, you know?" McEwen says. "I mean, it's like warped to me. There's people at the clinic, they're standing there, they have their signs, and they're saying this shit and people are telling me, 'Jean, you need to let them alone and it's not OK to harass them.' But it's OK to let them shoot somebody?"

But BACORR's tactics get decidedly mixed reviews. Confrontations with OR only escalate trouble and ultimately don't help clinic clients, some critics say.

"Some groups feel that BACORR is every bit as annoying as the anti-choice protesters," says Michele McDevitt, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, which serves the South Bay from San Jose to Santa Cruz. "But I don't agree with that. They do have their place, and 90 percent ofCR> the time when I've been involved with them they've done exactly what we needed them to do. If I would say anything to them, it's, 'Consider how you're going to look in the Midwest on the evening news.' I mean, does it play in Peoria?"

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