[Pro-lifers] said they plan to be outside 111 Harvard St. [in Brookline Village] every day now that Women’s Health Services, a clinic that provides abortions, has relocated there after 17 years in Chestnut Hill.
-- From "Antiabortion demonstrators picket Brookline clinic opening" by Brock Parker, Boston Globe Correspondent 2/10/10
"We’re not going to go away," said Rita Russo of Norwood, who stood outside the clinic with a poster of Jesus draped around her neck yesterday. "It would be invisible if we weren’t here. We don’t want it to be invisible."
The presence of the protesters has already riled neighbors, who say the clinic should not be located in the area because a preschool, elementary school, homes, and small businesses are nearby.
Brookline’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved the clinic’s move last summer, but by then residents said protesters had already been on Harvard Street holding signs depicting a severed fetus head, and one protester had dressed in a Grim Reaper costume.
As a result, several of the neighbors, including businesses such as Little Corner Schoolhouse and Williams Piano, have filed a suit against the town for allowing the clinic to open.
The clinic is one of only a dozen left in the state that openly advertises it will perform abortions, said Andrea Miller, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.
That number is down from 17 in 2002, according to a NARAL study released last fall, and the drop is indicative of a nationwide decline in access to clinics that provide abortions, Miller said.
Businesses nearby on Harvard Street felt the presence of the protesters yesterday, as well.
Several demonstrators ended up standing in front of Williams Piano on Harvard Street yesterday because a state-mandated buffer zone requires protesters to stand at least 35 feet away from entrances to abortion clinics.
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