- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The pro-life movement is trying to jettison Kentucky’s last abortion clinic by showing a graphic video of abortion procedures on a Jumbotron.

Mark Harrington, national director of the pro-life group Created Equal, said he will set up the 12-foot by 18-foot electronic billboard in downtown Louisville on Wednesday to “raise awareness about abortion and to change public opinion.”

“If it’s the public policy of our country that abortion is legal, then abortion should be shown publicly,” Mr. Harrington said. “If people are upset with the video, then they should be upset about abortion, not those who are showing it. We’re just depicting what happens every day in America.”

The effort comes as hundreds of pro-life activists have descended upon Kentucky for a weeklong protest during Operation Save America’s annual national conference. The target of their protest is EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville, the last remaining abortion clinic in the state.

Demonstrations outside of the clinic began Monday and already have sparked a contentious legal fight. District Judge David Hale issued a temporary restraining order Friday to create a 15-foot by 7.5-foot buffer zone at the clinic entrance to ensure patients are not impeded by the protesters.

Brigitte Amiri, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said the buffer zone provides a “small measure of relief.”

“No one should be prevented from a medical appointment by an egregious blockade of their health care provider,” Ms. Amiri said in a statement.

Eleven pro-life activists were arrested for blocking the doors to the clinic in May.

Created Equal plans to drive a mobile Jumbotron showing the video through Louisville city streets all week as a part of the week of protest.

Not everyone is a fan of the graphic nature of the display. In a press call Thursday, National Abortion Federation President Vicki Saporta said the video may end up backfiring.

“These tactics have backfired on them in the past because even people who oppose abortion don’t like these types of displays,” Ms. Saporta said, as reported by the Courier-Journal. “So I’m not sure that they will be greeted with any more enthusiasm in Louisville than they have in other parts of the country.”

Kentucky is one of seven states — including Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming — that have only one abortion clinic.

Pro-lifers think the Kentucky clinic is particularly vulnerable to closure.

EMW Women’s Surgical Center filed a lawsuit in March to try to stay open, after the administration of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin ordered the clinic to stop performing abortions for failing to meet safety requirements.

Rusty Thomas, Operation Save America’s national director, estimated as many as one thousand people have showed up for the week of protest.

“It’s like all eyes are on Louisville right now,” Mr. Thomas said. “It’s not a matter of if the abortion clinic goes; it’s a matter of when.”

Mr. Harrington said making Kentucky abortion-free would send “shock waves through America and the abortion industry.”

“I think we have our best shot here in Kentucky, but if it doesn’t happen in Kentucky, there are several states where the final remaining abortion clinics are hanging by a thread,” he said. “We could begin to see a domino effect.”

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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