NOW Unit Pickets Carl’s Jr. in Irvine on Abortion Issue


In protest of President Bush’s veto Friday of public funding for abortions, members of the National Organization for Women protested at a Carl’s Jr. restaurant Saturday because the fast-food chain’s founder is an ardent abortion foe.

“We’re out to protest Bush’s feelings against victims of incest and poor women, and we’re here to protest Carl Karcher,” said Sande Solomon, action chair for the Bay View chapter of NOW.

On Friday, the President vetoed a $4-billion bill that would have allowed local funds in the District of Columbia to pay for abortions. Last Saturday, the President vetoed another abortion-related piece of legislation--the $156.7-billion spending bill for the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Education because the bill allowed federal funds to be used for abortions in the cases of victims of rape and incest.


Karcher, a vocal opponent of abortion, has been known to give financial support to the pro-life movement through the restaurant’s parent company, Carl Karcher Enterprises. In past months, Carl’s Jr. Restaurants nationwide have become a target of proponents of abortion rights.

On Saturday morning about two dozen NOW members and other pro-choice activists encircled the restaurant at the corner of Michelson and Culver drives in Irvine, hoping to thwart customers with shouts of protest.

They were successful with at least one.

“I actually paid and everything, and I was thinking, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t live with this,’ ” said Yvonne Ralph, a 19-year-old mother from San Pedro, who said she asked for a refund and was granted one.

Of the handful of customers inside the restaurant, most said they didn’t notice the protesters or their placards.

Mike Schwongert, shift manager at Carl’s Jr., said the protest did not seem to harm the restaurant’s business. His top priority was to keep the customers satisfied, he said, adding, “We try to do anything to please the customer.”