Montgomery County police yesterday arrested 46 abortion protesters who barricaded the entrance to a Wheaton abortion clinic while brandishing graphic pictures of fetuses, reciting prayers and urging patients to change their minds.
Those arrested were among more than 100 members of the Pro-Life Nonviolent Action Project who picketed yesterday morning outside the Metro Medical and Women's Center in Wheaton.
The demonstration, originally scheduled for the Uptown Women's Clinic in Gaithersburg, was moved to Wheaton after the group discovered that no abortions were scheduled to be performed yesterday at the Gaithersburg clinic.
"Don't you care that they're killing babies by the minute?" Christy Collins of Falls Church asked a Montgomery County police officer as she sat cross-legged in front of the door to the clinic.
"I'm not leaving," said Collins, who was then handcuffed and dragged to a police van.
Members of a Baltimore "pro-choice" group, wearing white armbands and placards reading "Peacekeeper," escorted patients into the clinic as protesters yelled, "Please don't go in there," and "Don't murder your baby."
Inside the clinic's crowded waiting room, head nurse Lisa Ammerman assured patients that they would not be disturbed.
"Everyone has been arrested that's blocking the doorway, so you can rest assured that they won't get inside," Ammerman said.
Last June about 350 members of the Wheaton-based Covenant Life Christian Community conducted a peaceful protest outside the clinic, and 13 members of the group that picketed yesterday were arrested the same day at the Uptown Women's Clinic.
Several abortion protesters picket the Wheaton clinic every Saturday, according to clinic director Penny Smith. She said that none of the patients scheduled to have an abortion yesterday changed her mind as a result of the protest.