Terry Lazar, the man who owns the Ambulatory Specialty Surgery Center in Brooklyn, New York, wants to make it very clear that the reports that he was no longer going to provide abortions at the clinic had nothing to do with the incessant anti-choice protesters stalking the business. He told the WYNC News Blog:
“We closed for economic reasons — not because of protesters,” Lazar said. “This is something we’ve been working on for a long time. We weren’t forced to close.
But those words are completely contrary to the story he gave to the New York Daily News. Just a few days prior he said:
“It was getting more and more difficult. Doctors were getting harassed and patients were getting harassed,” said building and clinic owner Terry Lazar about his decision to eliminate abortions. “It was a decision we finally had to make.”
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Lazar said the clinic tried to provide both abortions and other types of procedures, but doctors and patients refused to cross the throngs of religious protesters who tried to convince them not to go in.
“You had protesters with signs and banners yelling at people telling them they were baby killers,” Lazar said. “We were trying to do both and it just wasn’t working. We would have gone out of business.”
Why does the changing story matter? On one hand, maybe he thinks that minimizing the actual effect the protesters had on the decision not to offer abortions any longer, there will be less replication of the tactic somewhere else. Still, the Catholic church avidly enthused about its role and gleefully claimed victory.
However, it does need to be emphasized how much so-called peaceful protest and self-proclaimed “sidewalk counseling” truly interferes with a woman’s right to accessible care. Harassing patients until they don’t bother to show anymore, creating an environment that makes medical professionals refuse to work, these are clear economic bullying tactics, and tactics that wouldn’t be allowed at any other place of business, medical service, or the like.
As the 40 Days for Life Campaign continues for another month, ramping up intimidation efforts, it’s necessary to remember exactly how much of their mission isn’t just emotional harm, but monetary as well. Just as laws are being piled on top of each other to make obtaining an abortion as financially difficult as possible, clinic harassment exists to make providing abortions a financial impossibility, too.