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July 30, 1993     The Message
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July 30, 1993

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CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF EVANSVILLE VOLUME 23 NUMBER 47 July 30, 1993 &lt;\< 2? -::! .... g around Hickey makes balloon animals for children during the summer social at St. Mount Vernon, July 25. -- Message photo by Mary Ann Hughes Catholic involvement mixed in 'City of Refuge' abortion protests By NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Operation Rescue abortion protests got a mixed recep- tion from Catholic leaders in the seven cities targeted for the "Cities of Refuge" cam- paign July 9-18. In Dallas, Bishop Charles V. Grahmann addressed about 300 participants in a nightly rally that was part of the campaign. In Philadel- phia and Minneapolis, Catholic leaders had seemed to discourage Catholic partic- ipation in comments before the Operation Rescue cam- paign began. In San Jose, CaliL, Bishop R. Pierre DuMaine said the protests should prompt dis- cussion about abortion itself and not on the demonstra- tions and counterdemonstra- tions. "The focus changes from the issue to the ruckus and nobody gains anything from that," he said. Operation Rescue protests also took place in Cleveland, central Florida and Dallas. The campaign included such tactics as blocking clinic en- trances, prayer vigils and ed- ucational seminars, sidewalk counseling and picketing out- side the homes of abortion clinic employees. According to figures sup- plied by Operation Rescue's national headquarters in Summerville, S.C., more than 10,500 people officially regis- tered to take partin the protests. Police arrested 593 pro-life activists and 32 coun- terdemonstrators. According to Operation Rescue, 39 pregnant women told sidewalk counselors or pregnancy center staff mem- bers during the "Cities of Refuge" campaign that they had decided not to have abor- tions as a result of the protests. Michelle Cramer, an Opera- tion Rescue spokeswoman, told the Catholic Courier, Rochester, N.Y., diocesan newspaper, that the women will receive support and ma- terial assistance from pro-life groups in their respective areas. Cramer reported, for exam- ple, that one homeless woman in Dallas  who was six months pregnant changed her mind about hav- ing an abortion after talking with a sidewalk counselor. In addition to finding the woman housing, pro-life offi- cials are providing help with medical care and counseling, she said. In addition to the seven tar- geted cities, the protests also spread to nearby communi- ties. In Wilmington, Del., for example, protesters from Philadelphia took part in a rescue at the Brandywine Valley Women's Center July lO. That center's porch col- lapsed under the weight of pro-life activists, effectively closing the clinic. Approximately 130 people were ticketed for trespassing at the Wilmington protests. Those people were not in- cluded in the numbers given by Operation Rescue for ar- rests because Wilmington was not one of the targeted cities, Cromer said. Protesters in the San Fran- cisco suburh of Los Gates also caused what police chief Larry Todd called "a near See CATHOLIC page3 FRAZIER O'BRIEN " Catholic News Service (CNS) -- dic opposition to the of Dr. loycelyn as U.S. surgeon gen- ie mount as confirmation hear- 21 letter to Sen. M. Kennedy, D- % Bishop James T. of Camden, N.J., President Clinton's nee for "bigoted and remarks about and other Chris- for her support of Catholic League for Re- and Civil Rights also out against the nomina- Elders of show- msition toward the c Church, and to ics in general, that is grows to Elders' nomination as Surgeon General inimical at best and down- right hostile at worst." Elders, who resigned in mid-July as director of the Arkansas Department of Health, was to begin confir- mation hearings before the Senate Labor and Human Re- sources Committee July 23. "Whatever the questions of competence, experience and intent the committee may in- vestigate, I believe the anti- Catholic remarks of Dr. Elders demand close scrutiny in the confirmation process," said Bishop McHugh in his letter to Kennedy, who chairs the committee. The bishop, former execu- tive director of the U.S. bish- ops' Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities, cited part of a 1992 speech by Elders that was recently excert)ted on NBC's "Dateline" program. "The first 400 w:ars black people had their freedom aborted and the church said nothing," Elders told the Arkansas Coalition for Choice on Jan. 18, 1992. "The way of life for the Native American was aborted; the church was silent. We attempted to eradi- cate a whole race of people through the Holocaust, and the church was silent .... Look at who's fighting the pro- choice movement: a celibate. male-dominated church." On another occasion, ac- cording to Bishop McHugh, Elders said that those in the pro-life movement, including Catholics, "love little babies, as long as they're in someone else's uterus, rather than car- ing about children after they're born." "rhis is demonstrably false, unjust and propagan- distic." he said. "As a matter of fact, Catholic Charities agencies across the U.S. pro- vide over $1 billion of social and medical services to the poor and disadvantaged each year. This figure does not in- clude the medical services in Catholic hospitals, "Dr. Elders' style of inflam- matory language has no place in any human society, espe- cially the United States of America. that claims respect for all religious bodies and at- tempts to constitutionally protect religious institutions from discrimination and irt- justice," Bishop McHugl added. The Catholic League also criticized Elders' 1992 talk and said it "smacks either of ignorance or malice." "It is a rank distortion of history to say that the Catholic Church was "silent' or "did nothing" about past in- stances of societal iniustice." the League said. "If Dr. Elders had legiti- mate differences with the teachings of the Catholic Church. she should say so in a professional manner," it added. "What we at the Catholic League find deeply troubling is the cant and calumny associated with Dr. l$1ders' remarks. There is sim- ply no place,, for bigotry in public office. Msgr. William F. Murphy, secretary for community rela- tions in the Archdiocese of Boston. also criticized Elders as "an anti- Catholic bigot" and said she "advocates ex- tremist positions regarding health care, sex education and abortion referrals for young people." Writing in a column for the lulv 23 issue of The Pilot. Boston archdimesan newspa- See OPPOSITION page 5