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Abortion opponents demonstrate in downtown Hagerstown

July 29, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Abortion opponents, some holding graphic signs, stationed themselves Monday along several blocks of Washington Street in downtown Hagerstown.

The rally was part of an annual Face the Truth tour, said Beth Walsh, this year's director of the tour. Groups of protesters plan to visit 15 cities throughout Maryland and Washington, D.C., this week, Walsh said.

"It's basically to expose the utter, evil reality of abortion," said Jack Ames, director and founder of Defend Life.

Walsh described Defend Life as a large group in the Maryland and Washington, D.C., area.

"I am here today because it's important to change people's view of abortion as a surgical procedure," said Lucille Jardinier, of Boonsboro. She described abortion as "the desecration of a human being."

The pictures that protesters showed Monday "are pretty horrible," Jardinier said. "I think we all need to look at it and say, 'That is what abortion does to a human being,'" she said.

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Many of the protesters prayed aloud or held rosary beads, and one offered the religious beads to people passing by.

April Canby of Hedgesville, W.Va., took her three children to Monday's protest.

"It's important for us to make a stand," she said.

Her son, 8-year-old Curtis Canby, sat on the sidewalk near the corner of Washington Street and Walnut Street holding a black-and-white sign emblazoned with the words "Face It Abortion Kills."

"I like being here because I like helping a lot of other kids with making sure no one ever gets hurt," he said.

When asked whether there was anything else people should know, Curtis Canby said, "To not kill the babies."

The owners of one downtown restaurant said the signs interfered with their business Monday.

"I think it is absurd," Bentley's Bagels co-owner Jordan Lessig said.

The protesters had set up before lunchtime, and business was "severely hindered" Monday, Lessig said.

"It's absolutely disgusting they're allowed to put signs up in front of a restaurant like this," said David Lobley, who was eating Monday afternoon at Bentley's.

"It's worse that children are out there with signs," which Lobley called "foul."

At one point Monday, at least three protesters stood on the sidewalk in front of Bentley's Bagels on West Washington Street, propping up a large graphic sign of an aborted fetus.

Police officers told the protesters they were entitled to stay in front of the business, but were not allowed to position chairs on the street.

Hagerstown police received several complaints from motorists who were upset by the content of the signs, Lt. Mark Holtzman said.

At one point, a motorist got out of a vehicle and yelled at some of the protesters, said Officer Carroll Braun, who was patrolling downtown Monday.

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