Abortion foes begin high school campaign

  Maria Puente


  USA Today


  Page 03A

  (Copyright 1997)


  A three-month campaign to confront teen-agers with graphic abortion pictures

  began Monday on a mostly low-key note, though the latest tactic of abortion

  opponents may have alienated some allies.


  Picketers bearing huge, color signs of bloody, dismembered fetuses showed up in

  front of at least nine high schools in eight states around the country, hoping the

  gruesome pictures would turn teens away from sex and abortion.


  Operation Rescue, known for its aggressive demonstrations outside abortion

  clinics, organized the campaign, scheduled to run through May. A spokeswoman

  said picketers went to high schools in 100 cities, but that could not be

  independently verified.


  ``We're at the schools because this is where the battle is for the hearts and minds

  of kids,'' said Philip Faustin, who led a picket line of about a dozen people

  outside Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver.


  At North Bergen High School in North Bergen, N.J., picket leader William

  Koehler said he hoped students were ``revolted'' by the signs. ``I hope they see

  them and get sick and vomit, but that's the reality they must confront,'' he said.


  There were no arrests, although one picketer reported he was beaten by five male

  students outside West High School in Madison, Wis. He did not press charges.


  Scores of students said they resented the picketers; others said they supported

  them. There also were reports of infuriated parents, even in conservative Dallas,

  headquarters for Operation Rescue.


  At Highland Park High School, in a Dallas suburb that's one of the wealthiest

  communities in north Texas, Meg Hillert shook with anger as her son and

  daughter scooted past 20 picketers.


  ``This is pornography,'' Hillert said. ``I am the religious right, and I think this is

  way out of line to show these . . . pictures.''


  Some students weren't happy either. ``I can't stomach the pictures,'' said freshman

  Emily Shamburger, 15. ``I'm pro-life. But I don't demonstrate with pictures.''


  Teens are ``old enough to see the truth'' about abortion, said Jeff White,

  California director of Operation Rescue, who led six picketers outside Beverly

  Hills High School.


  Many picketers used the occasion to hand out Gospel tracts along with

  anti-abortion literature as students arrived or left school.


  ``The main message is a Christian gospel message,'' said Terry Gensemer, pastor

  of a church in Birmingham, Ala., who led a picket line of 18 people at Huffman

  High School.


  Reporters and camera crews outnumbered picketers at some schools. As wet

  snow fell over North Bergen High, for example, six camera crews and a dozen

  reporters watched a half-dozen picketers.


  In Denver, where Operation Rescue officials announced their plans last week,

  calls from angry parents led Lincoln High officials to clear a parking lot in

  advance, allowing students to avoid the picketers.


  The protest didn't faze student Selena Cordova, 16. ``People are going to do what

  they want to do,'' she said. ``These (picketers) aren't going to change their



  At Kensington High School in Buffalo, Angela Stachowiak, 16, called the protest

  ``a good thing. Abortion is murder. More kids should know about it.''


  But in Beverly Hills, sophomore Elana Rosenblatt, 15, called the signs

  unacceptable. ``We're not even old enough to vote for or against abortions; we're

  not even old enough to have sex legally.''


  Contributing: Mark Potok in Dallas; Bob Minzesheimer in New Jersey; Jonathan

  Lovitt in Los Angeles; William Celis III in Denver; and Andrea Szalanski in


  PHOTO,b/w,Bob Deutsch, USA TODAY ; PHOTO,b/w,Bob Riha,Jr., USA