An abortion protester drove his van into the front entrance of the main Planned Parenthood clinic near downtown Houston yesterday, causing some damage but thankfully no injuries.
Frank Lafayette Bird Jr., 61, of the 2300 block of Callie Street, was arrested at the scene.
Bird, a well-known Houston abortion protester who served a one-year federal prison term for attacking a doctor outside another Houston clinic in December 1994, told a deputy constable the crash was done deliberately to "stop the killing."
No one was injured when Bird's van, bearing the name "Watkins," plowed through the clinic's glass doors about 10 minutes after 9 a.m.
There is one irony to this and other recent events involving clinics and protesters, which was mentioned in this earlier version of the story but not today's:
[Peter Durkin, the president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas] and others at the clinic expressed hope that the Friday attack was not the beginning of another violent siege in the wake of a Feb. 26 ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to punish or curtail protesters.
Although the ruling applies to all forms of protest, the case stemmed from a dispute between the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and the National Organization for Women, along with abortion clinics in Milwaukee and Wilmington, Del., and has been hailed by Operation Rescue as a vindication of aggressive anti-abortion protest.
In the wake of the ruling, abortion rights groups promised to look at other laws, notably the recently passed USA Patriot Act, to see if anti-terrorism statutes can be used to curtail aggressive protesting.
Link to earlier story via Devra.Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 08, 2003 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack