Boston Herald: The Cardinal and the NECAC Juxtaposed, August 20, 1989

In the Boston Herald on Sunday, August 20, 1989, a large article interviewed Bernard Cardinal Law of the Boston Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church (Cardinal Urges Abortion Forum), followed by a smaller article on our work at Preterm abortion center (Both Sides Talk it Over Along Clinic Picket Line).

In the main article, Cardinal Law called for dialogue with certain abortion rights groups such as Mass Choice and Planned Parenthood. These groups gave qualified support, while also challenging the Church as well. I had members of Roman Catholic pro-life groups, including the archdiocesan pro-life office, try for years to arrange for me to meet with the Cardinal, in that I headed up the largest Protestant pro-life constituency in the state, But for some reason it never happened, and to the chagrin of my Catholic pro-life friends. The abortion rights groups that responded to the Cardinal also challenged him for supporting Operation Rescue, as he was on record saying, “I fully understand and sympathize with those whose conscience is to aroused … that they resort to acts of civil disobedience.”

In the article underneath, we read:

Both Sides Talk it Over Along Clinic Picket Line

by Alice McQuillan

Her sign said “Free Abortion on Demand.”

His said “Can you imagine Jesus performing an abortion?”

But instead of waving their sings at each other, as happens at most rallies, calmly debated in front of a Brookline abortion clinic.

The usual Saturday morning turnout for both sides of the abortion issue held a twist yesterday: no arrests, minimal screaming and a lot of talking.

“It’s mellow,” said one of the eight Brookline officers keeping tabs on some 200 protesters milling about in small circles in front of Preterm Health Services on Beacon Street.

The sign holders, Veronica Greenbaum, and Mark Wheeler, a land surveyor from Clinton, talked for about 15 minutes.

“You’re playing God with women’s lives,” she told Wheeler, a member of the evangelical New England Christian Action Council, organizers of the rally.

Unlike other anti-abortion activists, the council is against blockading clinics of having their members arrested, according to the Rev. John Rankin, the group’s leader. Instead they prefer dialogue, he said.

Eyeing Wheeler’s sign, Greenbaum said, “I respect that’s your belief, but do you think its your right to inflict it on someone else?”

“I have a question for you,” he answered, “When do you think life begins?”

“I think life begins a birth,”  she replied, adding there was a “foggy area” of when a getus becomes viable and self-sufficient.

“Why doe sit have to be self sufficient?” Wheeler continued. “How can you make that decision? What baby that’s born cab survive on their own?”

As the questions flew outside the clinic, inside some 50 women had abortions, according to Marian Wolfsun, Preterm’s director of counseling [that is likely a highly exaggerated number, according to other sources].

While acknowledging that yesterday’s rally waqs not as confrontational as others, Wolfsun said any protest upsets patients but doesn’t change minds [click here and click here for the reality that many minds and actions were changed].

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