About 600 people gathered Saturday in an anti-abortion protest organized by the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington outside an office complex in Germantown, where physician LeRoy Carhart was to have started offering late-term abortions last week.
"Our goal is to get Catholics aware of the situation with the state laws in Maryland," said Christa Lopiccolo, executive director of the department of life issues for the archdiocese.
"Maryland is becoming a safe haven" for abortion doctors because of "the laxity of the law," Lopiccolo said, adding that Carhart came to Maryland from Nebraska.
The protesters gathered for Mass at 8 a.m. at Mother Seton Parish, filling the pews and standing in the aisles of the church, which is about a half-mile from the abortion clinic.
"We are called now to march, to pray full of love, not full of violence," said Father Carlos Benitez, pastor at Mother Seton.
The predominantly Catholic group, including several priests, parents and children bundled in hats and jackets, and a few people carrying anti-abortion signs, walked to the perimeter of the office complex where the clinic is located, softly chanting prayers and singing hymns. WASHINGTON POST