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A group of Operation Rescue tourist-terrorists, most of whom are men, having money to burn and time to kill, have descended on Albuquerque to get their kicks insulting and degrading local women. They gather in public places to accost young women while brandishing crude pictures. They have no interest in, or perhaps no concept of, a woman being a person in her own right but are exclusively and obsessively concerned with female sexuality and reproductive parts.

The word “abortion” stimulates them, evoking as it does something going on between a woman’s legs; and they like imagining the deaths of babies, even where no baby actually exists. They are clearly fixated on sperm, and even imbue it with a sacred quality, fearing that sperm in general and theirs in particular might be thwarted from fulfilling its ordained reproductive duty (as if that would be such a loss).

The visiting pornographers have no compunction about the possibility that the unwilling objects of their perverse fantasies may be victims of rape or rape-incest (likely, the very words only provide greater stimulation of their misogynist imaginations), and they specifically if subconsciously enjoy using the dangerous-feeling word “abortion” to trigger conversations about “rape and incest,” thus providing still more arousingly dangerous imagery.

Now, any man who stands in a public place and accosts strangers with dirty words or nasty photos may be accused of being a pervert or mentally unbalanced or both. If these visitors to Albuquerque were flashers in trenchcoats, the average person would either ignore them or call the cops, or maybe ignore them and call the cops – but we wouldn’t provide them a booth at the State Fair in which to waggle their junk. The Operation Rescue folks should be treated like the Peeping Toms they are. There is no reason to engage in debate with them, it only feeds their fixation on aspects of women’s behavior that they think men should control or dictate or impose by force, and it sets back the conversation about women’s rights many generations.

This is the twenty-first century. Women are in society. Women are intellectuals. Women are workers, athletes, politicians, artists, scientists and entrepreneurs. If we are working in the home or raising children, we are doing so by choice. Husbands and fathers and dirty old uncles may not own us or sell us or hire us out or commandeer our wombs. Unfortunately, all of the latter is still the stuff of fantasy for the sexually frustrated sickos hiding their impotence behind a facade of religious piety. It’s like a homegrown hyper-hypocritical version of sex tourism, this Operation Rescue. You’ve got a bunch of dirty old men busing around from town to town, picketing by day and spending their nights in strange hotel rooms getting off on fantasies about wanton women enduring unwanted pregnancies.

This is the most disgusting side show to come to town in all the thirty years I’ve been here. In a rational world, we’d run Operation Rescue out of town or lock ’em up and register them as sex offenders. In the United States of Men, these bullies invade communities such as ours, get a hearty welcome from the Mayor and far too little scrutiny from the media, recruit a group of religious proselytizers to gather signatures for a ballot measure to restrict late-term abortions in the city, and foist on our citizens a ridiculously expensive election (which if won will be followed by the inevitable expensive lawsuit) for a patently unconstitutional measure. Thus are we all, women and men, abused and exploited by this pack of creepy zealots whose mission is to dominate the minds of those who are sympathetic to their anti-abortion message and to literally impose their will over women’s lives and bodies. It’s kind of like vicarious rape, isn’t it – forcing a woman to hold something unwanted within her body.

The ballot question will have to do with late-term abortions, but this is what Albuquerque citizens will really be voting on: 1) Shall the municipal government presume to dictate the health care of the women within its jurisdiction? and 2) Shall the municipal government attempt to impose a religious interpretation on a private, secular matter? I really question the judgment of City attorneys, that they would allow a blatantly unconstitutional ordinance to come to a vote while failing to eject the Operation Rescue gang for harassment and public obscenity.

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