SCORES ARRESTED DURING BROOKLINE ABORTION PROTESTS
200 DEMONSTRATORS ARE COUNTERED BY PROCHOICE GROUPS AT 2 CLINICS
Date: January 1st, 1989
By Gus Martins, Contributing Reporter
BROOKLINE -- About 75 antiabortion advocates were arrested yesterday during
demonstrations at two Beacon Street clinics that offer abortions.
Police estimated that 200 people participated in the antiabortion
demonstrations at 1031 and 1297 Beacon St. They were countered by as many as
100 prochoice advocates.
Many of those arrested, whom a protest leader identified as members of
Boston's Pro-Life Action Network, were transported by police in a bus from the
Repro Associates clinic at 1297 Beacon St.
About 50 of the arrests were made in two police actions in front of the
clinic. Others were made sporadically during the seven-hour demonstration in
front of Repro.
Four protesters were arrested before 8 a.m. at the Planned Parenthood
Clinic of Greater Boston at 1031 Beacon St., located about one mile east of
Brookline police Capt. Frank Hayes said the 60 officers deployed at the two
demonstration scenes acted only against protesters who were found to be
"We have a dual responsibility to protect conflicting rights," he said.
''The protesters have a right to assemble, but they don't have a right to
block an entranceway of any private business."
On Nov. 26, another demonstration was held at Planned Parenthood by
Boston's Pro-Life Action Network and by Operation Rescue, a national group
with which the network is associated. The local group also staged similar
protests at clinics in Boston and Providence on earlier Saturdays in November.
Hayes said that about 30 demonstrators had gained access to Repro before
police and that they had to be physically removed from the building. Two
officers and three protesters were injured slightly, but none were
hospitalized, Hayes said.
Clients, who were seen entering the clinic, were able to keep their
appointments, police said. They entered the building to loud jeers and
religious and moral pleas from the protesters not to go in.
Bill Cotter, a director of the Pro-Life Action Network, said that the
protesters were guided by moral and religious convictions.
"We are here to try to prevent children from being killed in this abortion
mill," he said. "We want to offer women alternatives and try to persuade them
to make the choice for life.
"Abortionists and people on the other side act consistently with their
beliefs," he added. "We believe abortion is murder, and we have to act
consistent with our belief."
Ellen Zucker, a vice president of the Boston chapter of the National
Organization for Women, said the counterdemonstration was organized shortly
after hearing of the antiabortion protest.
"Even on the last day of the year and with people on vacation, the Boston
prochoice community and NOW were able to assemble almost as many people as the
antiabortionists themselves," she said.
Helene Weitzenkorn, also of NOW, said her group favors women's rights and
decisions based on what they deem is best for themselves.
"We are out here today to support women trying to enter the clinic to
exercise their right to receive a legal and safe abortion," she said.
Weitzenkorn charged that the protesters did not represent the majority of
The antiabortion demonstrators sang hymns and prayed in unison. Sister
Miriam Patrice from St. John's Parish in Quincy said that the protest was
designed to give a voice to unborn children.
"We are standing here to say in the name of God that children inside their
mothers have a right to life," she said. "We are speaking in behalf of the
children who cannot speak for themselves."
Kimberly Veltri, a Clayton, N.J., resident, criticized the legality of
abortion. "Abortion and the killing and taking of an innocent is wrong," she
said. "It is man's law, and God has called on us to pass his law."
Veltri, the mother of a 2 1/2-year-old son, said that she had participated
in numerous such protests in several Eastern states during the last two years.
Tina Krail, of Willingboro, N.J., said that she had undergone two abortions
and that she wanted to dissuade women who are contemplating having an
"I made the first decision when I was 17 and the second one at a time when
both me and my husband were using drugs. Since Christ came into my life, I
have regretted making those choices," Krail said.
Rebecca Goldfader, a counselor at Planned Parenthood, said that the
decision to have an abortion is personal and should be made by the affected
woman, with advice from loved ones.
"Women should have the right to decide," she said. "Prochoice gives us our
right to choose."