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Abortion- Rights Group Pickets Again

About 15 abortion-rights activists picketed outside a large fundamentalist church in Van Nuys on Sunday in an effort to dissuade the congregation members from supporting Operation Rescue, the militant anti-abortion organization.

Wearing bright yellow placards that read: “Dialogue is nothing to fear. We will listen to you, too,” the demonstrators greeted members of the Church on the Way as they left Sunday morning services and handed out invitations to a meeting Sunday in the Van Nuys Recreation Center.

Sunday’s peaceful demonstration was the second Sunday this month that the Irvine-based Coalition Against Christian Violence appeared at the Church on the Way at 14300 Sherman Way.

Coalition leaders Paul Courry and Larkette Lein, Episcopal crusaders for abortion rights, said they targeted the 8,000-member church because it supports Operation Rescue.

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They allege that Operation Rescue uses tactics that are violent and harassing, including biting abortion-rights activists and blocking the entrances to clinics where abortions are performed.

Courry said that after the demonstration he met briefly with Church on the Way leaders, who asked him to stop picketing.

Don Hicks, director of pastoral care for Church on the Way, denied any official support for Operation Rescue and said the congregation has been unfairly targeted because of its size and prominence.

He said some parishioners participate in Operation Rescue, but questioned why other churches that support the group are not picketed.

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Hicks said the church opposes abortion but does not “mean to raise social consciousness by anything other than prayer.”


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