Abortion Providers are Heroes: Opposing “Operation Fascist Theocracy” in Charlotte, NC

By Scott Trent

Two of us from World Can’t wait set out early for the drive to Charlotte from Greensboro, having no idea what we’d encounter when we got there. Would Operation Save America (OSA), the virulent offshoot of Operation Rescue that upholds the murder of doctors, even show up?
 
When we drove past Family Reproductive Health clinic at around 7am, we saw no one there but a couple of cops. When we returned a half-hour later, we realized our mistake in not having stayed: the fundamentalist, anti-woman zealots from OSA were already milling about in significant numbers, and setting up their bloody, sensationalist and totally unscientific banners very close to the clinic entrance.
 
We quickly met up with the few clinic defenders and escorts who were there to make sure that women there for medical services were not prevented from passing through the gate by a gauntlet of OSA people. We learned the “rules of engagement” for the day were to be that there should be NO engagement with OSA and its supporters. As soon as we found our place to stand we learned immediately that OSA wasn’t following any such rules.
 
We had a bright orange World Can’t Wait banner made for the occasion:“A fetus is not a baby…Abortion is not murder…Women are not incubators…ABORTION PROVIDERS ARE HEROES!” As soon as we unfurled it, the clinic defenders standing across the street, who didn’t yet know we were on the side of women and were eyeing us cautiously, burst into applause. It turned out to be the most popular slogan of the day, for both our side and the antis, who came by a few at a time to read the banner aloud to each other, and tell us we were going to hell if we didn’t repent.
 
The dozen or so pro-choice people who defended the clinic against the 50 or more OSA creeps were set upon all morning long by (mostly) men who climbed all up in our faces. They reeked of reactionary religion and cheap cologne. They quoted scripture, and held bloody photographs in our faces. They rained vague-yet-carefully-worded threats about “God’s judgement” upon us. In a word, it was a horror-show...on so many levels.
 
The already-sinister atmosphere took an even more threatening turn at one point: as a fundamentalist Black minister shouted anti-gay and anti-abortion slogans at women inside the clinic from atop hastily constructed (and illegal) scaffolding, he was whisked away by about six Charlotte cops. Meanwhile, an unattended leather satchel appeared near the clinic gate behind a small group of clinic defenders. An undercover cop questioned a couple of OSA people about it, one of whom then picked it up and took it away, saying, “It’s not a bomb…we’re nonviolent.”
 
After a few hours of this in the summer heat, OSA packed it in, and the dozen or so of us who had been mostly separated throughout the morning (including another friend from Greensboro who drove down after receiving my text message that we were outnumbered) gathered up to introduce ourselves and talk for a bit. The woman who runs the clinic thanked us for driving down, complimenting us on our banner, which we left for her and others to use throughout the week. She told us that there is a big need to get pro-women, pro-choice people out all week to defend the clinic. We congratulated each other on keeping our cool in the face of these unscrupulous zealots, talked a bit about the “no engagement with the antis” policy, and enjoyed a brief few minutes of camaraderie before exchanging phone numbers and emails, and hitting the road.
 
Here’s the thing: THIS WAS JUST THE BEGINNING. There were OSA goons at ALL THREE Charlotte clinics today, early on the first day of their week-long national conference. IT WILL GET WORSE as more of these medieval-thinking, woman-hating Bible thumpers converge on Charlotte this week. OSA has been known to post the names and addresses of doctors on “Wanted” posters in the neighborhoods where doctors live.
 
They are the cutting edge of a dangerous turn against abortion rights—and women’s rights generally—in society, which is fed by apathy and illusions of the possibility of finding “common ground” with fundamentalist reactionaries amongst progressive and even pro-choice forces. We need to step up our involvement, and increase our numbers—with clinics being threatened nationwide and anti-abortion legislation pending in several states, there’s a lot at stake.
 
There is a need for clinic defenders all week long at Family Reproductive Health in Charlotte—and there will be a convergence of the antis on Saturday, July 24th starting early in the morning—by 7am, if not earlier. Contact the North Carolina chapter of World Can’t Wait at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (voicemail: 336-790-7134) or contact the Charlotte chapter of National Organization for Women at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Main Reproductive Rights Abortion Providers are Heroes: Opposing “Operation Fascist Theocracy” in Charlotte, NC

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World Can't Wait mobilizes people living in the United States to stand up and stop war on the world, repression and torture carried out by the US government. We take action, regardless of which political party holds power, to expose the crimes of our government, from war crimes to systematic mass incarceration, and to put humanity and the planet first.