Operation Save America (formerly known as Operation Rescue) is an organization of violent right-wing religious activists whose members will flock to Jackson, Mississippi, between July 15 and 22 to cause trouble for the state's last remaining abortion clinic. Referring to the gate around the clinic as the "gates of hell" and referring to the clinic as an "abortion mill," Operation Save America Director Flip Benham is urging members to do what they have done in other cities containing clinics: show up in droves to frighten doctors and patients and disrupt the business of the clinic in the hopes of shutting it down.
I will hopefully be in Jackson that week as a National Organization for Women volunteer during a week of activities aimed at protesting the protestors. Members of Operation Save America don't just protest, though, they harass patients and take out newspaper ads meant to incite violence against abortion doctors.
According to refuseandresist.org, Operation Save America blockades the doors of abortion clinics, picket doctors' homes and hold protests outside gay bars and progressive churches, all part of the group's regressive agenda of intimidation. NOW will be countering some of these measures with a kick-off rally, a march on the state capitol to demand protection for women and girls and the registration of pro-choice voters. I can't wait to help let Operation Save America members know there are still people out there who value their right to choose.
According to the NOW Web site, Operation Save America has gathered at abortion clinics in Boulder, Colorado; Columbus, Ohio; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Dallas, Texas. Abortion is now illegal in South Dakota and is threatened with legislation in at least six other states.
If Roe v. Wade is ever overturned and Florida decides to ban abortion, you can bet I'll be running a clandestine abortion clinic out of my apartment. Abortion doctors who would like to volunteer their services can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Squidley wanted to let me know that I went against the grain when I used the term "abortion doctor" to mean "doctor who performs abortions." I will refer, instead, to abortionists as "doctors who kill fetuses before they are old enough to complain."
As unpalatable as abortion may be - and the words used to describe those who perform them - I assure you I am pro-choice. I say this remembering that my own abortion in 1997 was unpleasant to say the very least and not at all the trip to Disneyland I was hoping it would be.