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A Summer of Choice: What We Learned in Germantown

Written by Erin Matson for RH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post. Can we finally say this out loud? Operation Rescue was pathetic. They declared a "Summer of Mercy 2.0" outside the Germantown, Md., clinic of Dr. LeRoy Carhart, and now, as of late this Monday morning, they have (thankfully) gone home, and now we can tell it like it is. For those who don't know, the term "Summer of Mercy" is laden with awful history, referring to a time in 1991 when Operation Rescue shut down the late Dr. George Tiller's clinic in Wichita, Kan., for weeks on end. Watching video footage from those days you can see anti-abortion rights extremists screaming and crawling on all fours through the streets (culminating in a few thousand arrests). As a friend from Kansas recently told me, "It was hell." Scott Roeder, the man convicted of murdering Dr. George Tiller, explained during his trial that while he did not attend that original Summer of Mercy, it did make him "more aware" of Dr. Tiller. For these reasons and many more, abortion rights and reproductive justice activists around the country took Operation Rescue's threatened actions in Germantown very seriously. Grassroots activists and organizations poured our time, resources and hearts into supporting a "Summer Celebration of Choice" taking place Sunday, July 31, through Monday, August 8, declared by none other than Dr. LeRoy Carhart himself. The result was, in a word, awesome. Continue reading....