I was in a group of twenty-two people leaving Toronto Friday afternoon, April 24, to engage in a Rescue early the following morning.
About 150 of us were loaded into rented buses and off we went. Even the bus drivers (except the lead bus driver) didn’t know where we were going! There were two sites for the Rescue – one was Amherst, a small town near Buffalo, where we were told the judges were extra mean to Rescuers – and Buffalo itself where the mayor, who was staunchly pro-life, was very kind to us. Around and around we seemed to go before we arrived in Buffalo. We were almost grateful it was Buffalo! It was still raining and bleak.
Off the buses we charged and followed our marshals right through the police lines to the rear of the abortuary. I was at the back of our group and failed to make it through the lines. We were ordered to crawl on our knees toward the police lines that had formed again ahead of us. The police were aided by angry, foul-mouthed pro-aborts who were annoyed at the cops for letting most of us through.
Luckily for us the media were there to record what we faced. “Queer Nation” was there – along with “Act Up” – two nasty homosexual groups. The transvestites (cross dressers) were also there in large numbers – males made up with garish lipstick and rouge, wearing silly outfits and cheap wigs.
They had a large banner – about forty feet long – mocking Saturday Night Live’s “Church Lady.” It read: “Church Ladies for Choice.”
Our group, now seventeen, was headed by a bearded young man named Mark. It included a young girl whose parents were in jail for a Rescue earlier in the week, and a Buffalo nun from the Order of St. Francis. The nun, from her voluminous garments, produced a bag of grapes and some hard candy, both of which were well received.
Another was Donna – a brave young woman who was badly injured in a Rescue in L.A. (She has a lawsuit outstanding against the person who injured her.) Donna, a rather heavy woman, was seated in a large but not mechanized wheelchair. There were two others in our group from Canada, irrepressible Clayton Lee and always smiling Joe Bissonnette, both friends of mine.
It got colder and the rain kept falling. I finally struggled to my feet. I felt good but my knees were stiff. We were fenced in and completely surrounded by Buffalo police.
A police officer, sitting in the front seat of his car and using a bull horn, read the riot act to us. If we didn’t stop blocking the abortuary shortly, he announced, all kinds of horrible things were going to happen to us – jail sentences, ghastly fines, etc., etc. When he finished and got out of his car, I gave him a big handclap. He looked at me a little bemused.
Looking over the crowd of pro-abortionists, I spotted Merle Teriesky, a well-known, strident, 27-year-old professional pro-abortionist from Toronto, who was bellowing profanities. He was dressed totally in flaming red attire, appropriate enough for a reporter from Canada’s only Communist newspaper, The Canadian Tribune.
I know little about American police officers – but I do know this: they would rather have a trainload of pedophiles come into the United States from Canada than one Communist. When I looked back, Merle must have guessed what I was telling the police officer; he was gone and I never saw him again.
As the hours crawled by – over and over again – we were given one more “five minutes” to move off the corner location where we were blocking the abortuary. We didn’t move. The pro-aborts even started a chant: “Get them off the corner or we will! Get them off the corner or we will!” We caucused again and again and still decided not to move.
Eventually, the police filled up the buses with Rescuers from the rear of the abortuary and we appeared to be the only ones left to be arrested.
We decided to make a break for it and go around to the back of the abortuary where we had been originally. Only two of us made it – our marshal, Mark, and my friend, Joe. Our belated charge had taken us out of our position to the right of the corner to directly in front of a large old post office building. Now there was a 15-foot space in between us and the pro-aborts, separated by fencing which had been newly placed by the police.
Along came an important-looking federal official with an alarmingly big badge that I had never seen before. He said: “You are not just guilty of violating a city ordinance blocking the sidewalk, you are committing a federal offence by blocking access to a post office! This is a very serious charge.”
“But if you agree to leave, I’ll lead you across the street to your group.” “I didn’t come here to wave a sign – I came here to go to jail!” (Not that I’m against waving pro-life signs – I’ve done a lot of that, too.)
The officer chose to ignore this and said: “We’ll compromise. I’ll lead you to an area where you can regroup and decide what to do.”
I didn’t want to go down in history as the guy who went to Buffalo to block an abortuary and ended up being charged with blocking a post office.
We all decided, rightly or wrongly, to take up his offer.
Why weren’t we arrested? I don’t know. It could have been Donna in the wheelchair. It might have been embarrassing to take her away in an ambulance because putting her in a bus could prove difficult. (But she has been arrested in previous Rescues. One pro-lifer across the street said to me afterwards: “You really looked threatening with that woman in the wheelchair.”) It could have been that the police didn’t want to build up the figures of Rescuers arrested that day. Or it could have been my friend whom I talked to, who appeared to be a reasonable chap and who maybe decided that we weren’t the people who should be in jail.
And that’s how I escaped from jail in Buffalo.