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!
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.)
What is true Revival and Spiritual Awakening?
Discover the answer in this eyewitness account by Dennis Kinlaw, President of Asbury College, Wilmore, Kentucky, who recounts the story of a visitation of the Holy Spirit in 1970. This is the presentation that has continued to spark the flames of Revival in the hearts of people around the world. Contains eyewitness footage from the Revival at Asbury College in 1970 in Wilmore, Kentucky.
Certain to challenge you to greater holiness and a deeper commitment to full-scale revival. Original news and private footage has been included. If you are a student who longs to see a spiritual awakening at your school, you must see this video!
“This simple video does a wonderful job of conveying something of God’s heart and power, Everyone we have ever shown this to has received an immediate impartation of faith for revival and the power of prayer.”
— Bob and Rose Weiner, Weiner Ministries Int’l
Running Time: 40 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)