I appreciated the reminder of the killing of two young women who worked at the Planned Parenthood and Preterm Clinics in 1994. (“The shots that rang down Beacon Street”). Five others were wounded. We should not forget this horrific event.
Yet, I was a bit taken aback by reading, deep within the article, a Brookline police lieutenant’s comment about the situation at the clinics today. He is quoted as saying current anti-abortion activists engage in “sidewalk counseling.” This term was used by abortion opponents in their lawsuit leading to the Supreme Court ruling striking down the state law creating the helpful buffer zones around the clinic. The term was used to create a false impression of their actual conduct. The factual record, largely ignored by the court majority, was nothing like peaceful “counseling.”
Indeed, there is no evidence that the people outside the clinics today have any qualifications to call themselves counselors. We should not fall into the trap of using the benign sounding language that the anti-abortion people use to describe themselves. They still pursue and harangue women and the men with them who have entered or exited the clinics for services.