THE NEW WOMAN MEDICAL CENTER OF JACKSON, Miss., has not yet opened on this autumn morning, when a pair of dark blue vehicles arrive. First, a midnight Chevy pickup rolls past the seven-foot-high fence and through the opened metal gate. It parks by the rear of the lot, near the unprepossessing white trailer that is the temporary quarters of the United States marshals.
Moments later, a navy Crown Victoria, with tinted windows, pulls to a stop behind the pickup. The two armed men in the front seat leave the car and are joined by two other marshals, who have emerged from the pickup. The four form a ring around the car’s back-seat passenger, Dr. Joseph Booker Jr., the only physician currently providing legal abortions in the state of Mississippi. His bulletproof vest is not visible under his gray shirt, and some say he carries a gun in his black leather waist pouch. His protectors hustle him toward the back door of the single-story, wood-shingled clinic. Just then, a bearded man in a rattan sun hat pops his head over the fence, boosted by the folding step stool that he brings on protest days. His smile is downright gleeful and his voice is taunting. The marshals barely react. They have been expecting him.
“You can come in the front door, Booker,” the man yells, as the marshals rush the doctor inside. “You don’t have to kill in the back alley anymore. Haven’t you heard? You can kill on Main Street.” READ MORE