Taking up a literal front-line position in the battle over abortion, Operation Rescue is moving its headquarters next door to an abortion clinic - one that employs the woman who was at the center of Roe vs. Wade.
“It’s a tremendous place. At the killing center, at the gates of hell, is where the church of Jesus Christ needs to be,” said the Rev. Flip Benham, Operation Rescue’s national director.
Employees at A Choice for Women, a clinic that has been offering abortions at 9222 Markville Dr. since 1991, looked on in horror Friday as the militant anti-abortion group known for blockading clinics moved in at 9224 Markville.
The two now sit in offices side by side - separated only by a wall - in the same two-story office building.
“I’m horrified. I’m sure it could escalate into a lot of violence,” said Norma McCorvey, marketing director for the clinic. “My main concern is for our clinic and the safety of our doctor.”
McCorvey was “Jane Roe,” the woman whose demand for an abortion led to the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court ruling establishing the right to one.
Benham insisted it was a coincidence that Operation Rescue rented space next to the clinic when the lease on the group’s national headquarters elsewhere in Dallas expired.
“We did not orchestrate this,” he said. “We are not smart enough or shrewd enough. It was almighty God.”
Benham turned abruptly and grinned at McCorvey, who had come outside to watch. “Hey Norma! We’re on for lunch today!” he shouted. “Don’t forget!”
Benham admitted that being neighbors gives antiabortion activists more access to clinic patrons. The group already talked one woman out of an abortion Friday morning, he said.