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Police Arrest 5 at Anti-Abortion Protest at Clinic

May 01, 1988|ANDREA FORD | Times Staff Writer

Four anti-abortionists who formed a human chain Saturday morning and blocked the entrance to a family planning clinic in Orange were arrested for trespassing after they refused to move and let patients enter, police said.

The arrests occurred at a Family Planning Associates clinic at 2445 W. Chapman Ave. as about 50 other anti-abortionists picketed in the parking lot, Orange Police Sgt. Steve Ames said. The clinic performs abortions and provides family planning services, a worker there said.

The demonstrators had been attending a conference at the Irvine Hilton sponsored by Human Life International, an organization opposed to abortion. But the conference sponsor had nothing to do with the demonstration, Human Life International spokeswoman Kathleen Kelly said.

Arrested on suspicion of trespassing were John Cavanaugh-O'Keefe, 38, of Gaithersburg, Md.; Susan Elizabeth Finn, 25, of Redondo Beach; her mother, Sherry Marie Finn, 49, also of Redondo Beach, and Mary Ellen McCaffrey, 56, of Santa Barbara.

John Edward Finn Jr., 50, of Redondo Beach, husband of Sherry Finn and father of Susan, was also arrested on suspicion of interfering with a police officer.

All five were held at the Orange County Jail.

Barbara Martinez, a member of the North Orange County chapter of the National Organization for Women, who works as a clinic volunteer, said the clinic has been picketed every week by a handful of anti-abortionists for the past couple of years but that the group Saturday was the largest yet.

The demonstration began about 8:20 a.m. when the picketers filled the clinic's parking lot with their cars and began "harassing and haranguing" patients as they arrived, she said.

"They were shouting at the clients, calling them accomplices to murder and running around taking pictures with video cameras," said Martinez, whose job is to escort patients past demonstrators if they want her aid.

Police were called immediately, Martinez said, and by the time they arrived, four of the demonstrators had linked hands and blocked the door of the clinic on the second floor.

Police talked with demonstration leaders for about 90 minutes before making the arrests, she said. At one point, Martinez said, the father of a patient tried to break through the demonstrators blocking the clinic door but was restrained by police.

The demonstration broke up after the arrests, Martinez said.

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