"Since the killings, there have been almost constant pro-choice rallies and services held in local churches."

Subject: Boston Women Defend Abortion Rights

To: All From: Coridon Henshaw Date: 1/22/95 12:36:38

* Forwarded by Coridon Henshaw (1:250/820)

* Area : ANEWS (News of the US and World)

* From : ww@nyxfer.blythe.org To : All

* Subj : Boston Women Defend Abortion Rights

From: Workers World Service <ww@nyxfer.blythe.org>

@Message-Id: <9501200736.AA23569@nyxfer.blythe.org>

Date: Fri, 20 Jan 1995 02:36:03 -0500 (EST)

Reply-To: ww@wwp.blythe.org

Workers World 1/26/95

By Rachel Nasca ............ Brookline, Mass.

Boston-area women are focusing energy and resources on plans for a Jan. 22 march and rally to defend the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Marchers will gather at 1 p.m. at the Boylston T stop.

The Dec. 30-31 clinic shootings in Brookline and in Norfolk, Va., brought into sharp focus the fact that it takes more than a court decision to guarantee this right for women.

It takes a struggle. And a struggle is under way.

Here in the Boston area, the response to the Dec. 30 clinic massacre was swift. Within hours, the Emergency Mobilization Against Racism had set up a picket line at Planned Parenthood and issued a statement condemning the murders.

Later, over 1,500 participated in a candlelight vigil, march and rally organized by women's and reproductive-rights groups.

The next week a community meeting was held in Brookline to plan a fight back. Applause met EMAR's Liza Green's suggestion that an independent people's inquiry be convened, led by the women's movement and other community leaders.

"We should put not only Operation Rescue on trial," she said, "but the government for complicity ... from the White House to Congress to the Justice Department and the local police." She said the whole government and ruling class are guilty of the murders of Shannon Lowney and Leanne Nichols.

Clinic "visibilities" were set up. On Jan. 7 in freezing rain, hundreds of pro-choice supporters demonstrated at the clinics.

Since the killings, there have been almost constant pro-choice rallies and services held in local churches.

Anti-abortion fanatic John Salvi faces federal charges in the Brookline murders and the Norfolk shootings. A group of pro-choice demonstrators gathered outside his arraignment here on Jan. 9.

Anti-abortion leaders including Bernard Cardinal Law say Salvi was a lone fanatic with no connection to their self-described "legitimate" movement. However, the facts show otherwise.

Meanwhile, there is a chorus of establishment calls for "peaceful dialogue" between the "voices of reason on both sides of the abortion issue."

On one side is Law, who has called abortion the "primordial evil of our time." While he now calls for a temporary moratorium on protests at clinics, in fact anti-abortion fanatics are still harassing clinic patients and workers.

Self-appointed "champion of women's rights" Gov. William Weld also called for the moratorium while demanding the women's-rights forces keep quiet. Weld is a GOP presidential contender and considered an architect of the new GOP welfare plan.

He has said he would be willing to "absorb a $60 million hit" on Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Weld would cut 62,921 children off AFDC in Massachusetts. Another 98,450 would lose Medicare coverage.

Already, at least 90,000 children in the state lack any medical coverage at all. His plan would deny all benefits to unwed mothers under age 18.


Since the killings, both major Boston newspapers have become virtual mouthpieces for the ultra-right. On Jan. 9 they ran pieces by William F. Buckley and Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry.

An earlier Globe article about Salvi was filled with anti-gay innuendo.

The police, of course, keep aiding and abetting the right wing, too. And anti-abortion forces continue to freely issue threats and incite to violence.

Anti-abortion forces held a rally in a Beacon Street church a few days after the shootings. Local police provided security for the event and kept pro-choicers out.


As both clinics reopened in mid-January, workers returned to the front lines, demonstrating anew their determination to provide health-care services to women--and their bravery.

The Preterm Clinic reports that it has received countless calls from volunteers. At Planned Parenthood, a courageous woman offered to take up Shannon Lowney's tasks.

Weld, Law and others have been shameless in their effort to intimidate and influence the pro-choice movement. The pressure the movement is under is reflected in tactical differences about how to fight back.

Some have attempted to narrow the issue and "cool down the situation." But more militant forces have sought to broaden the struggle and called for the movement to take to the streets.

Lisbeth Melendez, a Latina lesbian in Boston, is vice president of Steel Workers Local 9267 and spokesperson for the National Peoples Action Campaign. She says: "These murders constituted the most recent attack in the government's war against women.

"Whether it's immigrant bashing, racist violence and police brutality, plant closings and layoffs, attacks on our communities, on welfare, on gay and lesbian rights, or on reproductive rights--we must fight on all fronts."

She called for everyone to come out on Jan. 22 and join the NPAC contingent at the pro-choice march. The campaign can be reached in Boston at (617) 522-6626.

But it can't stop there, Melendez says. The organizing must continue to build a movement to end the war against women and create a just society free of racism, sexism and lesbian/gay oppression--a society where the John Salvis and the Newt Gingriches will be but a horrific memory.

On one side is Law, who has called abortion the "primordial evil of our time." While he now calls for a temporary ................

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