New Haven abortion rights event draws 40 protesters: Awards dinner honors doctors, Roe v. Wade (video)
|Posted on January 21, 2011 at 7:57 PM|
Friday, January 21, 2011
By Susan Misur, Register Staff
NEW HAVEN — A group of abortion providers and abortion rights advocates gathered at an awards dinner Thursday night to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and honor doctors in the field.
But they shouldn’t have been in a celebratory mood, according to about 40 protesters outside.
“They’re getting awards for being in the baby-killing business. It’s evil and wicked and against God,” said Marilyn Carroll, a member of Operation Save America.
Various anti-abortion groups and individuals from across the state stood with signs and prayed outside the New Haven Lawn Club during the awards dinner, which was held by the Connecticut Coalition for Choice.
Protesters calmly approached pedestrians and cars in the club’s driveway, offering literature on abortion and Dr. LeRoy Carhart, a prominent doctor at an abortion clinic in Nebraska, who attended the award dinner.
Two police cars stopped at the scene on a report that protesters were blocking the driveway.
This was the first time protesters have been outside the annual dinner, as they hadn’t heard about the dinner in years past, Carroll said.
Groups, such as Operation Save America and Choose Life at Yale; residents from Waterbury, New Haven and Hartford; and members of St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Norwalk stood in three areas around the Lawn Club.
Carhart was to receive the Carhart Award, given by the Connecticut Coalition for Choice for the first time.
Kate Lannamann, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice of Connecticut, said her organization wanted to create an award to honor a person in the medical field who is active in women’s reproductive health and guided by spiritual beliefs. The group chose to name the award after Carhart and honor him as the first recipient.
When asked to comment on the activists outside, Lannamann simply said she’s glad she lives in a free country where people have freedom of speech.
Susan Yolen, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood, said the dinner is held annually for people who provide abortions and that about 20 providers attended Thursday night.
“They are a very unique and dedicated and courageous group of medical providers, and we thank them for their commitment,” Yolen said.
Outside, protesters holding signs of aborted fetuses said they weren’t there to insult those inside the Lawn Club, but to “pray for their conversion.”
“God can do a lot more than we can,” said Waterbury resident Kathy Upson, who attended the event with friends and said she’s not affiliated with any groups. “The babies are in heaven. It’s the people putting them there that need the prayers.”
Demonstrators were mostly quiet, talking among themselves and to pedestrians.
A passenger in one car yelled at the group and quoted the Bible, saying, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged,” but another driver pulled over and spoke to one of the protesters because his girlfriend had gotten an abortion.
The Rev. Greg Markey of St. Mary’s Church in Norwalk said he hoped that those at the dinner realized “they’re not welcome.”
“And we want to let the country club know it should be ashamed for having this. Dr. Carhart is exploiting women and taking advantage of them when they’re alone and afraid,” Markey added.
Eduardo Andino, a member of Choose Life at Yale and a Yale University sophomore, said he hoped he could get people thinking about the issue of abortion.
“I decided to come out tonight to represent the pro-life side and try to reach some hearts,” he said. “It’s an issue about which people don’t want to dialogue. If more people spoke up about it, they may give it some honest thought.”
Call Susan Misur at 203-789-5742.
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