Dire warning to abortion clinic workers: ‘Don’t let your job put you in prison’

Don’t go to prison like Kermit Gosnell, campaigns suggest

The billboards, placed prominently near Delaware’s abortion clinics, say it all: “Don’t Let Your Job Put You In Prison.”

Spurred by the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell — which landed him and several of his Philadelphia clinic employees in prison — pro-life activists are expanding their battle to curb the practice by cajoling, beseeching or just plain scaring abortion clinic workers into leaving their jobs.


PHOTOS: Pro-lifers urge clinic workers to quit


While much of the nation’s long-running battle over abortion rights has been fought in courts and legislatures, pro-life advocates think that targeting the workforce that staffs the nation’s abortion clinics could prove equally potent in the long run.

“We’ve had a lot of success with clinic workers in the past,” said Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics Inc., which assists in billboard and other campaigns. The horrific revelations of unsanitary and unsafe practices at the Gosnell clinic has only fueled the campaign.

The post-Gosnell message to workers gets “real simple,” Mr. Crutcher said: “You are in a position where you can be a witness. Or you can be a defendant.”

**FILE ** Phil Thiltrickett prays outside a Planned Parenthood site in San Antonio, Texas. (Associated Press)

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**FILE ** Phil Thiltrickett prays outside a Planned Parenthood site in San ... more >

Abortion clinic directors dismiss these tactics as part of a failed strategy to curb abortion rights by targeting industry workers.

Sidewalk protesters “are part of the scenery. They’re there, we ignore them,” said Chrisse France, executive director of Preterm abortion clinic in Cleveland.

“When we see those fliers, it’s like, ‘Pfft, give me a break,’” said Tammi Kromenaker, director of Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, N.D., the state’s only abortion clinic.

No one works in an abortion clinic in North Dakota without a deep commitment, Ms. Kromenaker said, “so I don’t see any of our staff being vulnerable at all.”

However, an organization led by former abortion clinic director Abby Johnson said it already has helped 85 workers exit the abortion industry.

“We are there to say there are other options out there,” said Ms. Johnson, who founded And Then There Were None in 2012.

The message of her nonprofit ministry is, “No abortion clinic workers, no abortion clinics, no abortions. It starts with the workers.”

Scant data

Hard data about abortion clinic workers — coming or going — are hard to come by.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America reports that it employs 25,000 staff and volunteers at its 750 health clinics, which include clinics that do not provide abortions. The Guttmacher Institute doesn’t count clinic staff, a spokeswoman said, but tallies 1,793 abortion providers, including the Planned Parenthood clinics, independent clinics, hospitals and physician offices across the country.

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About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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