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CONVICTIONS WON'T DETER PROTESTS, ABORTION FOES SAY

The conviction and sentencing of 65 abortion protesters will not affect future demonstrations, a Project Rescue spokeswoman said Thursday.

"I think this sort of persecution against pro-lifers is going to cause them to bind together even more fervently than before," Paulette Likoudis said.

City Judge Anthony P. Lo Russo found the 65 protesters guilty of trespass during a demonstration in October outside an Elmwood Avenue clinic and ordered them to pay $125 fines or perform four days of community service at city facilities.

The judge also ordered them to stay away from medical offices of any kind for one year, unless they have appointments there.

Mrs. Likoudis said the judge's order would not prevent most of those convicted Thursday from participating in demonstrations at clinics where abortions are performed.

"The rescuers don't stop to consider an unjust law when there are lives to be saved," she said. "We're obeying a higher law."

She said that abortion protesters are not "anarchists" and that they "love the system."

Mrs. Likoudis and Ronald M. Cinelli, the protesters' lead attorney, said the defendants would not pay the fines and that most of them probably would not do the community service. Cinelli said the convictions and sentences would be appealed to Erie County Court.

Mrs. Likoudis called the community-service sentence a "slap in the face," because many of those involved in abortion protests also do volunteer work.

"We do see the rescue as community service," she said.

Lo Russo imposed the sentences about 10 minutes after he found the 65 people guilty of trespass for blocking the doors of the Buffalo GYN Womenservices Clinic on Oct. 28 and 29.

"I'm absolutely delighted there was a conviction," Marilynn Buckham, administrator of the clinic, said after the court proceeding. "Whatever the sentence is . . . isn't as important as the conviction itself."

Ms. Buckham noted the provision ordering the protesters to stay away from medical clinics and said that if they are convicted of similar activities again, "certainly the sentence would be stiffer."

News Staff Reporter Peter Simon contributed to this story.

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