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Protest Threat Halts Center’s Abortions

Yielding to pressure from anti-abortion activists, a surgical center in Torrance confirmed Wednesday that it will no longer permit abortions to be performed on its premises.

D. Timothy Paulson, administrator at Surgicenter of South Bay, said he decided to stop allowing abortions after hearing that protesters planned to stage a week of prayer sessions and demonstrations on the sidewalk outside the facility at 23500 Madison Ave.

Paulson said he probably would not have acted if it hadn’t been for the threatened protests.

“It’s just not worth being on anyone’s list,” Paulson said.

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Abortions have accounted for only a small percentage of surgeries at the outpatient surgical center, which specializes in eye surgery, Paulson said. He estimated that of 4,700 patients seen there last year, fewer than 60 were abortion patients.

Surgicenter is affiliated with Medical Care International Inc. of Dallas.

The California Coalition for Life, which is planning a week of protests at 100 clinics statewide, hailed the Surgicenter decision as a victory.

“I think God did his work on this one,” said John B. Zielinski of Torrance, a member of Operation Rescue who had planned to demonstrate outside the center.

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