Why Activism Matters

Activists Last week, over 130 pro-life activists picketed the office of a Meadville, PA doctor with connections to an abortion clinic 40 miles away in the city of Erie. The picket, organized by Crawford County Citizens for Life and People for Life received great media coverage, both in print and on local TV. The Meadville Tribune reported:

A steady stream of sign-carrying picketers were quiet and orderly as they filed past the office of Dr. William Morris on South Main Street between 11 a.m. and noon. No patients were seen attempting to enter or leave the doctor’s offices during the protest. Fliers handed out by picketers from Crawford County Citizens for Life and People for Life Inc. of Erie claimed Morris has been linked to American Women’s Services, an abortion clinic in Erie. People for Life Inc. has offices adjacent to American Women’s Services on Peach Street in Erie. The fliers handed out at Thursday’s protest claimed more than 600 abortions have taken place at the American Women’s Services facility since it opened in September 2003. The fliers claimed Morris was present at American Women’s Services in Erie on two consecutive Fridays — July 14 and 21, during the time abortions usually take place. A statement issued earlier Thursday by Crawford County People for Life said, “We do not claim to have documentary evidence that Dr. Morris was personally doing abortions at American Women’s Services, but we do know that he was on-hand while the abortion facility was seeing clients — clients that were checked in and out by an armed security guard with a clipboard.”

Here’s where the story gets interesting:

In an interview with the Tribune on Thursday, Morris said he doesn’t perform abortions. “I do not do abortions at my office in Meadville and I don’t work at that clinic in Erie,” said Morris, a gynecologist in the Meadville area for 25 years. “They’re accusing me of doing abortions in Erie and I don’t work up there.” Morris also said he doesn’t volunteer at the Erie clinic.

Oh?

Asked if he was at the clinic July 14 and 21 as the groups claim, Morris said, “I can’t remember where I was then. I was up in Erie sometime.”

I have to give the Meadville Tribune credit. I can’t remember the last time I saw a newspaper so clearly imply that someone involved in the abortion industry is being deceitful. People for Life President Tim Broderick told me in an e-mail:

The doctor is denying everything, saying he was never even on the abortion facility premises. This really ruins his credibility because five of us are eyewitnesses who have seen both the doctor and his vehicle (including license plate number) at the abortion facility.

I wonder how Morris would explain that. The story continues:

Morris said that during Thursday’s protest he wasn’t in his office, but was doing his doctor rounds.

Once again, Morris seems to be having trouble telling the truth about his whereabouts. According to Broderick:

The doctor was in, but he left by the back door about half-way through the demonstration.

The article ends with some ambiguous remarks from Morris:

He plans to ignore the protesters — to a point. “If they continue to press this, I may have to do something else,” Morris said.

I’m not quite sure what to make of this. But from the picket, we know one thing is certain: the effectiveness of this type of pro-life activism can’t be underestimated.

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