By Kathleen Gilbert

Updated 10/4/10 at 16:16

CHARLESTON, South Carolina, October 4, 2010 ( - A Tennessee abortionist was arrested, but released on $25,000 bail Saturday after brandishing a gun at pro-lifers peacefully witnessing outside a Charleston clinic.

Witnesses say Tennessee abortionist Gary Boyle, 62, pointed a loaded handgun from his vehicle at about 8:30am Saturday morning at three pro-life witnesses, including one 17-year-old young man, who were standing outside the Charleston Women's Medical Center in West Ashley. After Boyle entered the clinic, the pro-lifers called police.

"We were like, 'Well, that was a gun,'" John Karafa, one of the three, told the Charleston Post and Courier. "You can't do that." Karafa was a participant in the 40 Days for Life campaign, an international semiannual event of prayer, fasting, and pro-life witness outside abortion facilities. The abortionist was arrested and charged with pointing a firearm.

The Post reports that Boyle attended a bond hearing by video conference, and paid his $25,000 bail later the same day. About eight pro-lifers wearing 40 Days for Life wristbands attended the proceedings.

The Charleston Women's Medical Center is South Carolina's largest abortion center, performing 2,550 abortions in 2008, and nearly 55,000 between 1988 and 2008, according to Columbia Christians for Life.

Boyle has been in trouble with the law before. For several years in the 1990s, Boyle operated a Bristol, Tennessee abortuary without proper state certification; however, an appeals judge eventually ruled in 2002 that the statute requiring certification violated a woman's right to privacy, the Post reports.

Cheryl Freiberger, outreach coordinator for the local 40 Days for Life, told that the charge facing Boyle is a felony. She also said reports claiming the men had approached the abortionist as he sat in his vehicle before he brandished the firearm were false.

"It's not the peaceful pro-life people who are attacking or acting violently, but it's often the pro-choice people who act out against us," she said. She said she hoped that other minor assaults suffered by pro-lifers, which she said police had treated with less diligence, would receive more scrutiny thanks to the recent incident.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for December 17.