NEWS & LETTERS, May 2004

Unmask phony clinics

Memphis, Tenn.--At last we took the battle to the anti-abortion fanatics instead of always reacting to their latest outrage. On a sunny Saturday, about a dozen members of the Women's Action Coalition (WAC) and News and Letters Committees protested in front of one of the phony abortion clinics here called "Life Choices."

We picked the Saturday before the big March for Women's Lives in Washington to bring attention to the vital importance of that action. (See article page 1.) Our signs read: "They Lie Here," "When abortion is illegal, women die," "Lies about abortion offered here," "Life Choices is neither," "No doctors or nurses work here."

As our leaflet said: "anti-abortionists, like those who staff and fund 'Life Choices,' use lies and corrupt methods to try to stop women from controlling our own bodies, including our right to terminate a pregnancy by legal abortion.

"These so-called 'crisis pregnancy centers' (CPC) are now often funded by state and federal funds, yet they exist only by bending the truth and outright lying. They begin the lies by appearing to be a clinic. While 'Life Choices' has an ultrasound machine to boost its image as a medical clinic, no doctors or nurses work there." Our leaflet went on to tell four truths about abortion that CPCs habitually lie about, for example, that abortion causes breast cancer.

While all of us at the demonstration felt great about being there, we were disappointed that more of the Memphis feminist community didn't join us. Perhaps they felt good knowing that we were doing the action and felt they didn't have to be there. That was wrong two ways: first, it would have meant more to everyone driving past had our demonstration been bigger; and second, it would have given us a tremendous lift to see more of our sisters and brothers out there with us.

Our other disappointment was that no press showed up. This was a huge surprise since anything in Memphis having to do with abortion always gets press. It had to be a deliberate decision from our anti-abortion tainted press to ignore this action when they cover all anti-abortion actions, no matter how small.

Despite these setbacks, all of us who did participate are looking forward to doing it again. We just hope that next time, more of our sisters will join the fight.


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