Abortion Protestors Wind Up Week of Demonstrations
NEW YORK (AP) _ Pro-life demonstrators ended a week of protests at abortion clinics today by trying to block a Manhattan doctor’s office, and 316 people were arrested, police said.
Hundreds of protesters turned out at Dr. Herbert Schwarz’s office despite a temporary restraining order prohibiting members of Operation Rescue from blocking abortion clinic entrances.
During the week police made nearly 1,650 arrests. Most of the same people were arrested each day. The demonstrations were held in Manhattan, Queens and Hicksville, on Long Island.
″In evaluating our week, we are tremendously pleased with the results,″ Operation Rescue spokesman Lowell Patterson said. ″Three out of the four days we managed to keep the doors to the facilities closed.″
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Ward had issued the restraining order Wednesday at the request of abortion rights groups and the city, which complained the protests had cost more than $250,000 in police overtime.
Ward threatened $25,000-a-day fines that would be turned over to the National Organization for Women under the order that remains in effect until Saturday.
Patterson said Operation Rescue, with participants from 20 states including several from Alaska, planned to appeal the order.
Corporation Counsel attorney Lorna Bade Goodman said the city planned to seek contempt charges since ″they were clearly in violation of that order today.″
The demonstrators arrived outside the Manhattan clinic, the same one where the protests began, and began their daily prayer session in a steady rain. Police moved in quickly, arresting all 316 demonstrators by 9:20 a.m., said Officer Janice Swinney, a police spokesman.
They were all charged with disorderly conduct and released, Swinney said.
Patterson said no further demonstrations were planned.