Archive for Friday, June 29, 2001

Ministers urge calm at abortion protests

June 29, 2001

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— A group of ministers who support abortion rights has called for calm by all sides next month when abortion protesters come to Wichita.

Kansas Religious Leaders for Choice formed in 1991 when the group Operation Rescue staged its "Summer of Mercy," 46 days of blockades and protests that saw thousands of arrests.

This year's demonstrations by the group Operation Save America, a successor organization to Operation Rescue, are scheduled for July 15-21.

In response, the Wichita Choice Alliance has announced its own activities in the coming weeks, including rallies, recruitment and training in so-called clinic defense.

At a news conference Wednesday, members of Kansas Religious Leaders for Choice called for civility all around.

"All of us want to reduce the number of abortions," said the Rev. Bill Reece, a retired Disciples of Christ minister. "All of us are opposed to violence."

The Rev. George Gardner, a Methodist pastor, said the ministers' group "feels it is important for our community to know that many religious communities uphold and support the right of women to pursue the legal option of abortion," Gardner said.

In a statement posted Thursday on its Web site, Operation Save America called Kansas Religious Leaders for Choice "the abortion industry's last feeble attempt to divide and conquer. Jesus despised the shame heaped on Him by 'religious leaders of His day and we too must do the same."

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