The Rev. Robert L. Schenck, an abortion foe with whom we have often disagreed, offered thoughtful advice to local anti-abortion activists planning an April reunion of the 1992 Spring of Life demonstration: Forget about it.
Now general secretary to the National Clergy Council in Washington, Mr. Schenck has not slackened his anti-abortionist ardor, only altered his preferred strategies of expression.
Back in 1992, he participated as a local pro-life leader in the Spring of Life. It attracted 1,000 outside activists, blockaded health clinics that provided abortions, heckled clinic patients, taunted and grappled with pro-choice forces and produced 600 arrests, including Mr. Schenck.
So he speaks from personal experience. He and his brother, the Rev. Paul H. Schenck, now "have questions about the timing and the way the Spring of Life reunion will be carried out," he said. They plan not to attend, and think the time for Operation Rescue-style protests has passed.
It's a reasoned judgment that should give local pro-lifers pause. Drawing pro-life activists from around the country, the Spring of Life reunion would rub salt in the raw wounds of this community that only last October witnessed the assassination in his Amherst home of Dr. Barnett A. Slepian, an obstetrician-gynecologist who performed abortions.
Apparently, Mr. Schenck sees the recklessness of a reunion that could easily provoke renewed violence and is, therefore, both mistimed and tragically misplaced.