Adios, Abortionist | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Adios, Abortionist

Joyce Tarnow's a weird combo: a wiry, gray-haired mother of three who's a feminist, an environmentalist, and slightly wacko about population growth. "Fertility is an environmental issue," she says. "That's why I try to get as many people sterilized as are in my way!" Tarnow also has an interesting stance on immigration: America "can't take all the people in the world," she says. "We need to help nations that can subsist and let others wither on the vine." And how about this sensitive approach to countries like Haiti, which, she says, "has denuded the whole land"? "Stew in your own juices," is her advice.

But now, Tarnow, who for 28 years has been a stalwart in the abortion battle, is closing her business, the Women's Clinic in Fort Lauderdale. "I'm ready to hang it up," the feisty 65-year-old says. Over the years, BBs, red paint, motor oil, and piña colada mix are just a few of the items that have been flung at her windows. She has, at times, worn a flak jacket to work, and her name made the Nuremberg files, an infamous aggregation (some consider it a hit list for anti-abortion activists) of "every person working in the baby slaughter business."

"She's one of the unsung heroes," says Boca Raton-based attorney and rabbi Barry Silver, who worked with Tarnow to win a permanent injunction against the anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue, which blockaded Tarnow's clinic in the '80s. "We bankrupted them," Silver says of the anti-abortion loonies, who were forced to pay $235,000 in legal fees. "Joyce was instrumental in that victory."

Tarnow's clinic, which is housed in a pink eyesore on State Road 7 in Fort Lauderdale, provides about 800 to 900 abortions per year. The building has been sold and will soon be replaced by condominiums. Since October 1976, when Tarnow opened the Women's Clinic near Cypress Creek Boulevard and Powerline Road, she's relocated three times; she moved to the present location 11 years ago. Faced with the prospect of packing up again, she says, "The question was, do I want to spend all the money and effort to relocate? No, I do not."

Ladies, don't despair. After the last abortion is performed at the Women's Clinic on August 14, there will still be at least five places in Broward County where you can get a surgical abortion -- including County Commissioner Ben Graber's medical office. By the way, over the past few years, as abortions have decreased throughout the country, the numbers have swelled in South Florida.

Neal Horsley, the keeper of the Nuremberg files, is happily uncapping his marker to cross Tarnow's name off his list. "I pray that more will quit," he says. "It is the only chance they have to avoid the horrible punishment that awaits them for making a living butchering God's children." (Horsley, by the way, also appears in our feature story this week, "Bombs for Babies.")


Norwegian-born Boca Raton resident Arne Soreide could spend the next 20 years in the hoosegow. Last week, a federal jury convicted the Accutel chief executive on 68 charges that included fraud and money-laundering. From July 31, 1996, to September 4, 2001, Soreide defrauded thousands of U.S. telephone customers through his Pompano Beach long-distance company by employing scams known as "cramming" and "slamming." (See "The Grand Slammer," December 11, 2003.) He will be sentenced in late September. "All I can really say is that I'm disappointed in the jury verdict," Soreide's attorney, Michael Dutko, told the 'Pipe. Donna Kim, former president of Accutel, blew the whistle on Soreide and cooperated with the government in exchange for a reduced sentence. She received 46 months in March and will begin her sentence in October.

Beach Blanket Behemoth

Last Thursday, developers the Related Group and CEO Jorge Perez broke ground for a 50-story tower in the massive Beach Club complex at 1820 S. Ocean Dr. in Hallandale Beach. The entire City Council of Broward's southernmost burg and dozens of others attended the event.

The 50-story condo behemoth will be one of the tallest ever built on the Broward coastline -- though still five stories short of bad-hair-boy Donald Trump's Royale and Palace a few miles to the south, in Miami-Dade County.

Former Hallandale Beach mayor and current council member Dotty Ross addressed the crowd at Thursday's event. "These towers rise like jewels, and they are jewels -- the colors are jewel-like," she rhapsodized, finding one good word and sticking with it.

The first Beach Club monstrosity -- 43 stories and 390 units -- has already sold all its units, and the second, which was christened last week and is really just a pile of rubble, has four of 480 left. According to Perez, the Beach Club will eventually sport three 40- and 50-plus-story towers (1,253 units total) as well as pools, gardens, and a 50,000-square-foot European-style spa, whatever that means.

Problem is, the real people are none too happy about Clinton buddy Perez and his minions' overbuilding their neighborhood.

At the Beachside Café, a simple shack with a wide wooden deck and a family of eight fluffy chickens scampering about, regulars downed Budweisers. The place, owned by Kay Lyn Doderer, is the opposite of the condo canyon growing around it. Around sunset, talk turned to the approaching construction, as it often does.

Doderer says that most of the condos that have opened so far have been bought by speculators and will remain unfinished and unoccupied for years. "It would be OK if there were people in them," Doderer says. "If there were people, then you could afford to have a restaurant or a bar around here."

Her statement provoked a general growl of agreement from the regulars. "If you go down the beach to Sunny Isles at night and look at those giant buildings, you'll see maybe two or three lights," one said. "They're sitting empty."

"It's like a ghost town," another agreed.

The site of Beach Club, which was once owned by infamous tycoon Victor Posner, was caught up in probate for years. It offered open space and shady trees until Perez acquired it a year ago. Now, it's going to hell, said Sandra Canessa, who moved from New York City into the building next door to Beach Club just over a year ago. "It's not good," she said. "We chose this area specifically because there weren't as many people. When this is done, we'll probably begin looking to move somewhere else."

Even Hallandale Vice Mayor Bill Julian wasn't completely overjoyed about the project. "I wish they'd left it like it was, to be honest," he said. "The city could have had this place a long time ago, but we missed our chance."

One pocket of public green space does remain on the south side of the construction -- a small park with trees, a playground, and public parking. Beach Club developers have offered to "beautify" the area by taking out the parking and building tennis courts.

"They're not getting our trees," Julian vowed. "I'll chain myself to a palm tree if I have to."

-- As told to Chuck Strouse