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September 13, 1991 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-09-13

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spirituality in the public
realm — an issue best repre-
sented by the powerful emo-
tions elicited by the abortion
Many Jews fill the ranks of
the pro-abortion movement,
using Jewish political and
social organizations' stature
to support their point of
view. The National Council
of Jewish Women is chief
among these organizations,
going so far as to train and
provide escorts for women
seeking abortions at besieg-
ed clinics.
Other Jewish organiza-
tions associated with the
Michigan chapter of Re-
ligious Coalition for Abor-
tion Rights (RCAR) are
Na'amat, National Federa-
tion of Temple Sisterhood,
the Union of American Heb-
rew Congregations, B'nai
B'rith Women and Women's
American ORT.
"We support their (Opera-
tion Rescue) right to believe
and say as they do," said
Sarah Smith Redmond, di-
rector of Michigan's RCAR.
"But when they legislate
their religion over mine,
that's when we draw the line
because my religion does not
believe abortion is murder."
Mrs. Smith Redmond is

By comparision, anti-
abortion activists have fail-
ed to attract Jews into their
ranks. Operation Rescue,
perhaps the most militant of
the anti-abortion groups,
claims few Jewish members.
Of those, some are Messianic
Jews, or Jews for Jesus.
For Lynn Mills, spokes-
woman for Michigan's
Operation Rescue, the lack
of Jews is difficult to under-
"We would welcome
anybody who came and who
is sincerely pro-life," she
said. "We can't understand
how the Jewish people can
live through the Holocaust
and not respect this."
For anti-abortion activists,
the connection to the Nazi
Holocaust is E crucial. In a
1987 article, the Rev. Paul
Marx, president and founder
of the anti-abortion Human
Life International, wrote
that Jewish ambivalence,
even animosity, to this con-
nection is surprising.
"It's high time that some-
one reminds these (Jewish)
pro-abortionists that there's
a holocaust going on that
dwarfs even the horrible
Jewish one, taking 50 mill-
ion lives every year,
worldwide. Jews who are
pro-abortion must face up to

Photo by Glenn Triest

Continued from Page 1

MARAL teaches how to combat Operation Rescue.

their complicity in the
violent deaths of 22 million
infant victims in the USA
alone," Rev. Marx wrote.
A woman who for three
months participated in
"rescues," or attempts to
close down abortion clinics,
in an effort to infiltrate

Is Detroit Really Next?


Staff Writer


ith all the
speculation over
Operation Res-
cue's venue after Wichita,
the question remains:
how does the activist anti-
abortion movement
choose a city?
Rumors point to Detroit
as Operation Rescue's
next choice. Lynn Mills,
the movement's local
spokesperson, has fanned
these flames, hinting that
local anti-abortion res-
cues have been successful
enough to warrant na-
tional support.
"We have a good core
group here," said Mrs.
Mills. Locally, Operation
Rescue maintains a mail-
ing list of close to 3,000
and has conducted over
twenty rescues. The
success of rescues are
judged by the number of
arrests made and whether
the abortion clinic stayed
closed. In seven rescues
between 1989 and 1991,
Mrs. Mills said, the clinics
remained closed for the
day and no arrests were



Wichita was chosen, she
said, because it is the
physical heartland of the
nation and because
George Tiller, one of the
"most notorious abor-
tionists in the country,"
practices there. Dr. Tiller
performs second and third
trimester abortions, Mrs.
Mills said. Wichita also
has an anti-abortion
But the Detroit area is
not as rescue-friendly as
Mrs. Mills indicates.
Southfield's Public Safety
Department has already
discussed contingency
plans on dealing with
abortion clinic protests.
And a local activist specu-
lates that the local law
enforcement climate may
not be as forgiving as
Wichita's police force.
"I don't think they're
coming here," said Sarah
Smith Redmond, director
of Michigan's Religious
Coalition for Abortion
Rights (RCAR). "The
(Detroit area) police
departments and the (pro-
abortion) activist com-
munity have experience
with them. Operation
Rescue would not have

the cake-walk they had in
Wichita. The police will
try to shut it down early."
It is unclear, however,
how much of this is true.
Operation Rescue is
highly secretive when it
comes to any operation,
whether it's a locally-
organized protest or a sus-
tained national siege of
all clinics in one city. One
thing is certain: Opera-
tion Rescue targets cities
with few clinics. That
way, a concentrated group
of protesters can effec-
tively deny abortions to
an entire area. Because of
the number of clinics in
the Detroit area, that
scenario is unlikely.
The Detroit area has
one further strike against
it. It may be too big.
Operation Rescue's inter-
est seems focused on
smaller cities, especially
ones with little experi-
ence dealing with clinic
protests. A Sept. 3 article
in USA Today said the
movement will next
travel to Fargo, N.D.,
Asheville, N. C., Fayet-
teville, N.C., Little Rock,
Ark., and Baton Rouge,
La. — all small cities.

Operation Rescue, said that
Christian chauvinism is an
essential element of the
movement. She declined to
give her name for fear of
"It's their own version of a
holy war," she said.
Mrs. Mills rejects the idea
that Jews are being targeted
by Operation Rescue.
"We don't believe you can
get to heaven without know-
ing Jesus Christ," she said.
"But we would never raise a
hand against the Jewish
people. They are God's
chosen people. You would
not find any Christian who
is anti-Semitic, or God would
be angry at that Christian."
For Mrs. Mills, the abor-
tion issue is a matter of
America's moral health.
And that moral concern does
have a following in the Jew-
ish community.
"I'm not uptight when (an-
ti-abortion activists) talk
about one nation under
God," said Rabbi Elimelech
Goldberg of Young Israel of
Southfield. "Quite to the
contrary, there are positive
things to saying there is a
higher calling. There should
be some thought of God in a
national sense."
Citing the teaching of sex-
ual education and distribu-
tion of birth control in public
schools, Rabbi Goldberg
said, "I'm just as uncomfor-
table with a humanist defin-
ing morality for me as a
Christian defining it for
Rabbi Goldberg added that
Jews, as a religious minori-
ty, must guard against a
state-sanctioned preference
for one religious group. But

Jewish groups that support
abortion rights, he said, are
selectively accepting and
reinterpreting Jewish law in
order to fit the needs of their
"moral whims."
Of Operation Rescue, he
said, "I'm not sure I support
them or their tactics. But
that society should have
morality? Absolutely."
Rabbi Goldberg's hesitan-
cy to fully support Operation
Rescue is mostly the result
of the movement's reliance
on Christianity.
Generic morality, the idea
that society can have
"natural law," has struck a
chord in Jewish America.

"It's high time that
someone reminds
these (Jewish) pro-
abortionists that
there's a holocaust
going on that
dwarfs even the
horrible Jewish

Whether that morality
favors one religious group
over another is one of the
"contradictions" of the abor-
tion debate that Jews must
face, said David Gad-Harf,
executive director of
Detroit's Jewish Community
"Many of these people (in
Operation Rescue) would
want organized prayer in the
schools," Mr. Gad-Hart said.
"Jews feel uncomfortable
about one group imposing its
values and its will over the
rest of society."
Anti-abortion philosophy
still emphasizes the spiri-

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