Here's a fine example of responsible parenting.

Why don't they pick up their kids and throw them through the window of the clinic in protest, too?

You have to be some sort of idiot to risk your kids, who admittedly don't know what's going on, in a political protest. If the adult kids -- for that matter perhaps even the mid-teens -- want to take these risks, then go for it I suppose. But a parent who is so daft as to hide behind their unthinking near-infant children as they go about their not-exactly-safe protests is, quite obviously, an unfit parent.

The pro-lifers have no small number of homicidal wannabe-martyr maniacs in their ranks and no one can be sure when a fist fight or even a gun battle may take place.

Imagine the martyrdom these parents may well daily pray for. They would probably be proud as punch if their kids were killed in the stampede away from the tear gas clouds that may well be unleashed at any protest these days.

No matter which "team" you are on it is immoral in the extreme to expose unthinking children to the obvious dangers inherent in even fairly tame civil disobedience.


Arrests Common for Pro-Life Family

.c The Associated Press

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Linda McGlade winced as she saw her 12-year-old son in plastic handcuffs, a police officer leading him from an abortion clinic to a waiting van.

It wasn't easy for a mother to watch, but she had seen it before. Many times.

Each year since he was 7, Eric McGlade - a sixth-grader with plans to be a hockey star like Eric Lindros - has been arrested while demonstrating at abortion clinics. It's a family affair: Three of his six siblings also have been arrested, dozens of times.

``My heart leaps, but I've seen God come through. He never lets us down,'' said Mrs. McGlade, 46.

Mrs. McGlade, her husband, Tom, and their seven children have crisscrossed the country during the past decade to demonstrate in front of abortion clinics with Operation Rescue, a hard-line anti-abortion group.

Tom McGlade and Operation Rescue leader Flip Benham were arrested today outside an Orlando abortion clinic for violating a city injunction that, among other things, prohibits amplification, singing and chanting outside abortion clinics.

Eric and his 17-year-old brother, Keith, were arrested Monday when they lay down on the ground outside a different Orlando clinic. They were politely handcuffed and charged with obstructing a roadway and resisting arrest without violence.

``Will they be gone forever?'' wondered Amanda, their towheaded, gap-toothed 6-year-old sister.

Neither she nor two other brothers, 9 and 11, are allowed to risk getting arrested - not until they're old enough to know what they're doing.

Both Eric and Keith were released on their own recognizance after an hour's stay at the local juvenile center.

``Most of the cops are nice,'' said Eric, who stands 4-foot-9. ``In some places they're mean. Then I'm scared.''

This week is a family work trip of sorts to Orlando, a booming city of amusement parks and sea life displays built atop cow pastures and citrus groves. The McGlades are from Bradenton, 130 miles away.

Besides demonstrating at abortion clinics, the McGlades are protesting at Walt Disney World for policies they say cater to gays, and at Barnes & Nobles Booksellers for selling books they allege are child pornography.

The family is very visible in the front lines of the abortion wars, kneeling in prayer or joining in chants. Their home state of Florida is one of the hottest battlegrounds.

In 1993 and 1994, three people were killed in Pensacola by anti-abortion activists. Four clinics were bombed in the 1980s and early 1990s. In recent months, 10 clinics were vandalized across the state with foul-smelling butyric acid. Leading anti-abortion groups have denounced the violence.

The McGlades say they are following the Bible's teachings with their family- style protest.

Their four oldest children, Ryan, 20; Keith; Rachel, 14; and Eric, have been arrested in Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Chicago; Melbourne, Fla.; Milwaukee; and Washington, D.C.

Social service workers have threatened to take the children away. The parents have been jeered by abortion rights supporters who question why they allow their children to demonstrate at such a young age.

``Some people may object to the way we live but we are following the word of Jesus,'' Mrs. McGlade said. Added her husband: ``Some people think they're too young, but they're not too young.''

The younger children - Amanda, Jonathan, 11, and Anthony, 9 - don't fully understand the consequences, so they don't follow their siblings' actions to the letter. But all attend demonstrations.

``Typically, we have to hold them back,'' McGlade said Tuesday. ``We won't let them do it unless they know what they're doing.''

The McGlades said they are very proud of their children and the risks they take. ``You have to be proud of your children when you see them standing up for what is right,'' Mrs. McGlade said.

The children said they have never felt coerced by their parents into doing something they don't want to do. ``My parents have set a great example for me as a kid,'' Keith said.

At home in Bradenton, about 35 miles south of Tampa, the children are home- schooled by Mrs. McGlade. Her husband works as a sound and lighting engineer when the family isn't doing missionary work. A love of hockey is shared by the men in the family; McGlade coaches Keith's high-school team.

Their arrests didn't stop Eric and Keith from showing up outside the Women's Health Clinic on Tuesday with their parents, siblings and about 60 other Operation Rescue protesters. Though the demonstrators and abortion rights supporters tried to out-chant and out-sing each other, there were no arrests.

``It's our duty to be here,'' Eric said. ``No one else is going to be here, so we have to do it.''

AP-NY-06-03-98 1303EDT


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