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Pro-Choice Leaders Deny Vandalism : Denunciation of Clinic Termed ‘Outrageous’

Times Staff Writer

Pro-choice leaders in the abortion controversy Tuesday decried as “outrageous” a proposal by a Tustin city councilman to label a family-planning clinic in the city as “morally reprehensible,” and also denied any connection with vandals who struck an anti-abortion group’s office.

Red spray paint, apparently simulating blood, numerous coat hangers and posters reading “Operation Rescue/Operation Death,” “Fascists R Us” and “Domestic Terrorists a.k.a. Operation Rescue” were found Monday morning on the sidewalk in front of the mirrored office building on Euclid Street that houses Operation Rescue, according to Ken Tanner, the organization’s local director. Operation Rescue is a New York-based organization aiming to blockade abortion clinics nationwide.

A few blocks away on Brookhurst Street, the vandals left drawings of bodies and more signs at Operation Rescue Inc., a nonprofit group that assists refugees and tries to find missing servicemen in Southeast Asia, apparently in the mistaken belief that it was connected with anti-abortion activities, Garden Grove police said.

“It’s just a coincidence that makes the pro-aborts look pretty bad,” Tanner said. To end the confusion between the two groups, and to get more office space, Operation Rescue is seeking another location in Orange County, he said.

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Margie Fites Seigle, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino counties, said she was unaware of the vandalism.

“I would be violently opposed to anyone from our group doing anything outside the law,” she said. “As both sides continue to be frustrated and pushed, if you will, there is certainly more of a tendency to react in ways that are inappropriate and unacceptable.”

At the same time, Fites Seigle said she was “outraged” over an unusual resolution proposed Monday by Tustin Councilman John Kelly. The resolution would have declared that “the city of Tustin hereby disapproves of, as morally reprehensible and as ethically unconscionable, the presence of the ‘Abortion Center of Orange County’ within the city limits of Tustin, and its existence in principle.”

The Tustin clinic is also known as Doctor’s Family Planning. The council voted 3 to 2 to reword the resolution.

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“I’m outraged that a city council would look to prohibit the delivery of legal, quality medical services to residents of this county, particularly Tustin,” said Fites Seigle, who lives in Tustin.

About 10 years ago, a similar proposal was defeated by voters in Cypress, she said.

Pro-choice groups will bring supporters to the Tustin City Council when it considers the reworded resolution, she said, to counter the nearly 100 abortion foes who were there Monday.

Kelly said he proposed the resolution in response to the council’s rejection 2 months ago of a biomedical research operation.

“We denied that (operation) to advance medical knowledge to save human lives, and we are allowing an existing (clinic) since 1981 that is destroying life, and I’m opposed to that.” He suggested the council could change city ordinances so the clinic could be ousted under land use-regulations.

Kelly, a 27-year-old, unmarried Catholic, said he opposes abortion on the grounds that the Constitution allows for “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”


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