Nearly 100 people from across the United States, from over 16 states in the US are here to defend Dr. Carhart and his clinic from the Anti-abortion movement that has recently designated Dr. Carhart and his clinic as target number 1. They are moving to Bellevue Nebraska, site of Dr. Carhart's clinic because the previous number one target, Dr. George Tiller was murdered.
"We intend to show our support for the legal services that Dr. Carhart provides. Our intention is to have a peaceful presence in order to let people know that attempts to harass and intimidate physicians like Dr. Carhart, who provide an important service to women, will not go unchallenged, " says Nebraska NOW president, Erin Sullivan, "We want to show our support for a woman's right to choose, for Dr. Carhart's work, and to show that ACCON should stay open."
Ryan Swanek, director of development for ACCON, has a slogan for what people are coming together this weekend to state, "Trust women, this slogan champions Dr. George Tiller and Dr. Carhart is at the center of our work. We trust women to make the right decisions. We trust women to know what is best for their bodies. We trust women to know that the freedoms awarded to us as citizens of this country are not to be taken lightly. We must stand up, be strong and speak out. We trust women."
When we come out to say "we trust women" we are sending a message to those who would create a climate of violence, fear and shame. This message is that we will not let you come and harass people who are just doing their job and who are conducting a procedure that is protected by law.
This weekend we expect that the right wing presence will grow. Many of the people who will be here are the same ones you have seen on your television screen complaining about death panels, lying about health care covering abortion and contraception and going to town halls with the intent of creating disturbances and disruption.
In closing, if you were here at the clinic, you would hear pro-choicers chanting, "welcome, this clinic stays open." That's because that is what pro-choice advocates are here to do. We are here to respond to any anti-abortionists who would come and attempt to prevent from having access to the care they have a right to.