Supporters of the extreme anti-abortion group Operation Save America recently spent a week in a handful of Alabama cities, protesting abortion, same-sex marriage and Islam, as they have done for a number of years in different regions of the country.
In this exclusive video, Rolling Stone takes you to one of the front lines of this summer’s week of action: Montgomery’s Reproductive Health Services clinic. Mia Raven, a volunteer escort at the facility and director of legislative affairs for Alabama Reproductive Rights Advocates, explains how the clinic usually sees just a few protesters, but with Operation Save America in town, the scene is “completely different.” She explains the long history of violence aimed at abortion clinics in Alabama and elsewhere in the country, and says she’s not immune to fears of such violence. “I do not take the same route to the clinic, ever,” she says. “Every morning we have the bomb squad come in [to] sweep the clinic.”
“It’s very frightening. You have to watch your back when you do this kind of work in Alabama.”
National Clinic Access Project Director Duvergne Gaines notes that John Brockhoeft – who has served prison time for firebombing abortion clinics – was in town during Operation Save America’s week of action.
Alabama is one of a dozen states to have in effect a ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy; legal experts widely consider such legislation to be unconstitutional. The state also has a law on the books that allows courts to appoint lawyers for fetuses.