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Abortion Opponents Rush Wichita Clinic; 130 Arrested : Protest: Activists scale fence, knock down counterdemonstrator. Two Operation Rescue leaders are taken into custody later.

August 21, 1991| From Associated Press

WICHITA, Kan. — Anti-abortion demonstrators stormed the Women's Health Care Services abortion clinic Tuesday in defiance of a court order against blocking it, and 130 of them were arrested.

Two Operation Rescue leaders were also arrested Tuesday under a separate court order, and two others said they would surrender.

About an hour after the clinic demonstration, the Rev. Pat Mahoney of Boca Raton, Fla., one of the leaders, was arrested by a federal marshal at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport as he returned from a trip to the East Coast.

Mahoney was arrested under U.S. District Judge Patrick F. Kelly's order that cites the protest leaders with failure to post a $100,000 peace bond on Aug. 6. A peace bond is sometimes imposed when a group's activities may cause disorder or property damage.

Later Tuesday, Keith Tucci of Charleston, S.C., was arrested after appearing on a talk show on a Christian radio station in Wichita.

Two more people named in the arrest order, Wendy Wright of Binghamton, N.Y., and Joe Slovenec of Cleveland, were in Wichita and said they planned to surrender.

Two others named in the order, Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry and member Jim Evans, both also of Binghamton, were believed to be at home. Kelly said he would have them arrested only if they returned to Wichita.

During the clinic protest Tuesday, demonstrators knocked down two sawhorse barricades, scaled a wrought-iron fence and blocked the driveway of Women's Health Care Services, in what one officer described as the protesters' most aggressive action yet.

Police and federal marshals began making arrests after a few protesters knelt in front of a car carrying a patient and the rest ran toward the clinic.

The protesters also knocked down an abortion rights demonstrator while rushing toward the building.

"It was the most aggressive they've been so far. No question," police Capt. George Scantlin said.

The Rev. Joseph Foreman, an Atlanta Operation Rescue leader, insisted that the group's actions Tuesday had been passive.

"Do you think what happens to babies in there is passive?" he said. "They get their heads and arms and legs ripped off. So, running to a place where you can block access to keep that from happening is passive. There is no law against running."

Women's Health Care Services, operated by Dr. George Tiller, has been a target of the protesters because he performs late-term abortions.

About 2,400 arrests have been made since members of Operation Rescue began protests July 15 outside Wichita's three abortion clinics, two of which are covered by Kelly's order. Many protesters have been arrested more than once.

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