By Editorial Staff
Published June 21, 1998
Protesters behind decline, activists on both sides say
By Frank Oliveri, FLORIDA TODAY, Sunday, June 21, 1998 (front page above-the-fold)
MELBOURNE – The number of abortions performed in Brevard County has declined by almost 50 percent during the past 15 years, while the number of abortions performed elsewhere in Florida has nearly doubled.
Increases in population are behind the statewide rise in abortions performed, experts said. Explanations vary for the decline in Brevard numbers.
The Florida Department of Children and Families reported 81,692 abortions statewide in 1997. That was up from 43,377 abortions in 1983.
In Brevard, 1,221 abortions were performed last year, down from a high of 2,155 in 1983.
Activists on both sides of the abortion issue say Brevard’s decline is due to a “professional cadre” of abortion protesters. The protesters routinely photograph, approach and write letters to women who seek abortions at the county’s one abortion clinic, the Aware Woman Center for Choice in Melbourne.
However, the abortion rate nationally also is declining. And one researcher says some abortions are not being reported.
The decrease in the number of abortions performed in Brevard doesn’t mean fewer women are deciding to abort, experts say. Instead, the women may be going to another county to have the procedure performed.
Abortion providers in Brevard and Orange counties said some Brevard residents go to Orange County clinics to avoid scrutiny here.
Orange County has four abortion clinics, all in Orlando. The county reported 10,173 abortions in 1997, almost 2,000 more than in 1996. In 1983, 4,494 abortions were performed in Orange.
Tammy Sobieski, owner of the Women’s Health Centers in Orlando and Daytona Beach, said competition in Orlando has made abortions somewhat less expensive than in Brevard.
“It may be cheaper to get an abortion in Orlando, but the picketing has certainly had an effect on (the decline in Melbourne abortions),” she said.
“Where would you go? They may be afraid that they are going to see someone they know, or the picketers may know their family. You can’t get away from them there. (Protesters) own the house across the street (from Aware Woman).”
Some pro-life activists, such as Meredith Raney, spokesman for Christians for Life in Melbourne, work full-time against Aware Woman. He praised the downward slide in abortions.
“Only God knows the true reason,” Raney said. “In 1989, a concentrated pro-life activism movement began and has continued since with varying degrees of participation but always with a constant presence. We have experimented with all kinds of approaches.”
Raney said he hopes to drive Aware Woman out of business. “We are getting very close to the point of diminishing returns, where the abortion rate will suddenly tumble to near zero in Brevard County for pure economic reasons,” he said.
Patricia Baird-Windle, owner of, the Aware Woman clinic, said protesters cut business at Aware Woman by about 50 percent.
“These are professional Protesters, full time, with no visible means of support,” she said. Protesters have pressured at least 25 doctors to quit the clinic or not accept work over the past several years, she said.
“To pay our overhead and meet our expenses, we have done 100 to 102 surgery days per year,” she said. “The loss of doctors has pushed that to 90 surgery days per year.”
Almost all abortions in Brevard are performed at Aware Woman. Hospitals sometimes perform abortions in emergency situations, such as when the mother’s life is in danger.
Though abortions have increased in Florida, the drop in abortions in Brevard seems to reflect the national trend.
Stanley Hinshaw of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which researches issues of reproductive health, said declines nationally and locally could be attributed to improved birth control and a greater use of condoms.
“The main part of the fall is among teenagers,” Hinshaw said. “There are fewer unintended pregnancies and a tendency to continue unintended pregnancies. We don’t see a decline in the abortion rate among older women.”
Hinshaw said many providers are under reporting or failing to report to the state the number of abortions actually performed.
In a survey completed in 1996, Hinshaw said abortions were under-reported in Florida.
“We compared our numbers with those of the state’s and found it was under reported by 18 percent,” Hinshaw said.
Baird-Windle agreed, saying that other medical practices provide abortions in Brevard, but not all report the work to the state.
State statutes require that all abortions be reported. Information on who provides abortions is not public record, but pro-life activists have discovered the identities of abortion providers, Baird-Windle said.
“There is a fear of being identified,” Hinshaw said.
Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »
Your comments are welcome!
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)