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Anti-abortion protests to continue - The Clarion-Ledger


Anti-abortion protests to continue
From staff and wire reports

An anti-abortion group protesting in Jackson since July 15 will begin leaving this weekend, but others will arrive over the next two weeks, said the Rev. Philip "Flip" Benham.

Rick Guy/The Clarion-Ledger

Anti-abortion protesters hold signs outside the Mississippi Women’s Clinic on North State Street in Jackson on Friday. No violence was reported.

"This has been the safest week for the lives of little boys and girls in their mothers' womb since 1973," said Benham, director of Operation Save America. The group has been protesting outside the only clinic providing abortions in Mississippi for a week.

On Friday, representatives of several organizations gathered at the state Capitol to denounce Operation Save America's activities. Michelle Colon, president of the Jackson chapter of National Organization for Women, said the news conference was held to show the solidarity of groups opposed to the "tactics" of Operation Save America.

"Everybody here is not pro-choice. We rose to the occasion to defend one another when we saw bigotry, hatred and violence being incited by the other side," Colon said.

Earlier Friday, Operation Save America members protested peacefully outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic in the Fondren neighborhood.

McCoy Faulkner of Raleigh, N.C., a security consultant for the National Women's Health Organization, said the protesters have been verbally abusive to the patients and staff, but no violence has occurred. The anti-abortion protesters, he said, have gone outside the limits of their permits by going outside the hours and area.

"They try to be just shy of the law in most cases," he said.

No arrests have been made, however, since Sunday and Monday.

"There is no way to 'sugar coat' abortion," said Tanya Britton, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, in a statement. "There is no way to soften the reality of abortion. What are we to do? Provide half truths to our brothers and sisters as they perish for lack of knowledge? Or do we provide the uncompromised truth (always in love) and accept that this is what Jesus would do?"

Operation Save America burned a copy of the Islamic holy book, the Quran, during a gathering Tuesday at the Making Jesus Real church in Pearl. The church shut its doors to the group upon learning what happened. The group also allegedly attempted to destroy a rainbow flag, a symbol of the gay community.

Unity Mississippi, a Mississippi-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization, issued a statement condemning burning of the flag.

"The burning of the flag and Operation Save America's bigoted position on gay and lesbian individuals and families, as well as our allies, is hateful and attempts to invoke terror and fear within Mississippi's communities."


July 2006


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