Abortion protesters come to Harford high schools

A group of abortion protesters has set its sights on Harford County high schools.

Members of the Maryland division of the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, which organizes graphic anti-abortion displays nationwide, were protesting in front of Bel Air High School Thursday and Friday morning.

Kurt Linnemann, executive director of CBR Maryland, said Friday his group plans to go to different high schools in the area on a weekly basis, and is targeting Harford County, at least for now.

He said the group will next be protesting between 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., when students are likely to be getting to school, on Thursday.

He did not know yet what school they might target, but said it would probably be in the Bel Air area, possibly Fallston High School.

Teri Kranefeld, spokeswoman for Harford County Public Schools, said in an e-mail Friday that although protesters are not allowed on school property, they have the right to stand on public sidewalks.

"[Bel Air High] Principal [Greg] Komondor and his administrative team spoke to parents as they pulled onto school property informing them of the protesters," Kranefeld wrote.

"The principal used this situation as a teachable moment with students to educate them on the fact that the protesters were exercising their first amendment right," she wrote. "The administration and the school resource officer worked to ensure that the protesters did not impede or obstruct the entrance of car and bus riders onto the property and will continue to do so."

The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, which is based in Lake Forest, Calif., says on its website that its goal is to graphically expose the injustice of abortion.

It also says it condemns all abortion-related violence and will not associate with those who fail to condemn violence.

Other abortion protesters have left their mark on Harford County, particularly after 18 members of the Baltimore-based Defend Life group were arrested in 2008 while they waved graphic posters along Route 24.

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