Abortion Clinic Managers Quit After Pressure From Pro-Life Activists

By Shannon Augustus | July 7, 2008 | 8:05 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Tactics employed by the pro-life group Operation Rescue may have contributed to the resignations of two managers at an abortion clinic in Wichita, Kan., run by controversial abortionist George Tiller.

"Our mission is stop abortion in America," said Cheryl Sullenger, an event coordinator for Operation Rescue West, which has long targeted Tiller's operation, which performs late term abortions.

Sullenger said that once her group discovered that Rhoda Lipscomb had been hired from a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado to serve as clinic manager for the Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, it began to pressure Lipscomb where she lives.

Operation Rescue's "Year of the Rebuke" campaign involved telling Lipscomb's neighbors of her abortion connection and praying for Lipscomb in her neighborhood. A similar effort aimed at Lipscomb's predecessor had apparently prompted that woman to quit after only a month and take a new job managing a candle shop.

Lipscomb, who served as Tiller's assistant, "thought she could go into the abortion clinic, she can do her little work and then she can leave and go home and she's a normal person, and nobody has to know what she really does," said Sullenger. "We don't let them have that anonymity. We believe if they are going to be a participant in the abortion industry, that's everybody's business."

Sullenger said some of Lipscomb's neighbors were shocked to find out that she was working in the abortion industry because "there is a certain amount of stigma and shame that is attached to that."

She also denied that Operation Rescue went too far in exposing Lipscomb's role with the abortion clinic. "There is nothing wrong with pointing out someone's sin, exposing it," Sullenger said. "It is like it says in the scriptures to do, 'Expose the unfruitful deeds of darkness.' We are giving them an opportunity to repent."

Operation Rescue workers also followed Lipscomb to a fundraising party for ProKanDo, a Kansas political action committee devoted to abortion rights, and displayed large graphic photos of aborted babies.

"We take the dead-baby pictures, because if they are proud of what they do for a living, they shouldn't mind that we show it to people. But they do, because they want to keep it secret, said Sullenger. "They want to leave the blood guilt at the abortion clinic and come home and be free from that."

Lipscomb ended up quitting her job at the Women's Health Care Services after only three months of employment.

"For whatever reasons, Rhoda Lipscomb decided to leave her job at Tiller's abortion mill," Sullenger said. "We rejoice and thank God that she no longer participates in the brutal killing of innocent baby boys and girls. We wish her the best and pray God's blessings on her for her decision to stop participating in the abortion trade."

Elizabeth Toledo, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said that Operation Rescue West has a history of harassing individuals.

Toledo also noted that intimidation tactics targeting abortion providers are common in the U.S. "The tactics of intimidation and harassment unfortunately have been in full force for a long time in this country. Whether it is harassment in somebody's neighborhood, harassment on the way to work, or harassment of a patient, it is all harassment, and it should be stopped," Toledo said.

But Toledo added that Operation Rescue's campaign against Lipscomb may have had nothing to do with her decision to leave the job. "We can't assume that any of the activities by any of these people in Wichita had any impact on somebody's employment decision."

There are thousands of people working at abortion clinics across America, Toledo said, "all of whom go to work every single day knowing there has been intimidation and violence repeatedly every single year."

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