Anti-abortion protesters in jail
From: [email protected] (Scott Safier)
Subject: Bible thumpers in jail
Message-ID: <[email protected]>
Date: 16 Aug 90 17:46:59 GMT
Reply-To: [email protected] (Scott Safier)
Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 1990 10:38-EDT
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: from talk.abortion: Operation Rescue
This was posted to talk.abortion. I thought parts of the article would be
interesting to this net group also. I've tried to edit out those non-related
parts. I left a brief preface in so that you can get the jist of the whole
from today's LA Times [Mon Aug 13, 1990]:
(reprinted without permission)
Jail Becomes Final Test for Anti-Abortion Protesters
* Prison: Most refused plea bargains. Now their personal convictions
face a further challenge.
by Shawn Hubler, Times Staff Writer
The yacht broker's daughter was reading the Bible the day she got
marked as a jailhouse snitch. Ephesians 5:11. "And have no
fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose
them," it said.
The words resounded like the inner voice, that on another day, had
beckoned her to blockade an abortion clinic door. So when the guards
barged in with a rumor that someone in her dormitory had cocaine, she
stepped forward -- and before 200 convicts -- bore witness against the
inmate she had seen smoking crack in the toilet stall.
"You're dead meat!" the inmate shrieked as the deputies dragged her
away. Within moments, women were shoving their fists in the
anti-abortion activist's face.
"I just thought, 'Speak the truth,'" the small bespectacled woman
would reufully recall. Released last week from a Los Angeles County
jail, she was forced to serve the rest of her time in protective
For a wave of abortion protesters, who in the last two years, have
grabbed headlines with clinic blockades and mass arrrests, the time
has come for a final test of their convictions -- jail. Across, the
country, thousands detained in demonstrations orchestrated by the
anti-abortion group Operation Rescue are finally getting their day in
court and, eshewing plea bargains, landing for days, weeks and, in
some cases months behind bars.
With their Bibles and pampthlets, they are some of the most unlikely
convicts ever to do time, bringing an often credulous evangelism to a
subculture defined by cynicism and sin. Churchgoing matrons with
visions of jail as a "mission field" emerge from custody with tales of
deliverance from homosexuality behind bars. Family men, confident
that prayer will protect them from harm, tell of inmate brawls touched
off by flash points as small as a borrowed pencil.
[edited... statistics on number of bible thumpers in jail and on
Operation Rescue ]
In general, Grumbine said, during her first stay at Sybil Brand and a
15-day stay at the Mira Loma facility near Lancaster last month, she
had little trouble -- except when it came time for bed.
"This last time," she explained, "The woman below me was a really
promiscuous homosexual. The first thing she asked was, 'Do you like
women?' I said, 'I like Jesus.' That sort of took care of all the
angles for me."
But as night fell, she said, a parade of women crawled in and out of
the bed below.
"The whole bunk was shaking and all the sounds were coming up from
down below, and I just had to sort of pray to get through the night,"
"But the next day, I got transferred to another bunk. You see? The
Parables like that are part of what sets the Operation Rescue jail
experience apart from that of the average inmate. No sacrifice, it
seems, lacks a reward or a deeper purpose. Every story has a moral.
[edited: some stories on violence in jail]
Inmate Anderson recalled mirthfully an activist's story about the
night the amorous conversation of two gay inmates kept the
anti-abortionist awake. The activist prayed fervently for an end to
homosexuality, she said, and when she stopped praying the inmates were
"Now, wasn't that a miracle?" Anderson laughed. "I've been in here
five times in my life, and every time I get more religious."
And yet, she added, there is a "good aura" to the Operation Rescue
women, who never call the inmates by their nicknames -- Shorty and
Casper and Midnight -- but who say their Christian names in tones that
are kindly and soft.
"They are real nice," Anderson said. "As a matter of fact, one of them
gave me a lad on a Christian home where they can help me get a new
For the men of Operation Rescue, jail has been more meacing.
[edited... more on jail experiences and why the Lord didn't tell them to