Fearmongering political ad unintentionally points to pro-life activists’ current reality

A recent political ad supporting California Democratic Congressional candidate Eric Swalwell entitled “Lock Her Up” depicts something that no modern pro-life law in the United States currently mandates: it shows a woman being arrested for having had an illegal abortion. 

Ironically, however, the scenario depicted in the ad is eerily similar to – although comparably more tame than – the recent real-life experiences of multiple pro-life families.

URGENT: For every dollar given, 34 more people can be reached with the truth about abortion. Will you join us in this life-saving work as a monthly donor today?

The ad begins by showing a family (including an infant) gathered around a table sharing a meal. The father playfully babbles at and spoon-feeds the baby, while an older daughter, perhaps between the ages of 9 and 12, bluntly proclaims, “You’re weird!” 

“He is weird, but cute,” says the mother, glancing lovingly at the dad. Then, the couple kisses. 

Typical, idyllic, American family motif, right? Wrong. Red and blue lights flash ominously beyond the closed curtains in the background, then comes the urgent knock on the front door. The parents hasten to open it, only to find two uniformed law enforcement officers standing on their front porch.

One officer confirms the woman’s identity before informing her that he has a warrant for her arrest for “unlawful termination of pregnancy.” He tells her that her medical records have been subpoenaed, her doctor is already in custody, and she will have to submit to a physical examination. 


At this point, things escalate. Men are yelling, the woman is sobbing, children are crying, and guns are drawn. It’s a full-fledged nightmare — similar to what the pro-life Houck and Vaughn families recently experienced when their homes were raided by armed FBI agents, only perhaps not quite as traumatic as what those families endured. 

URGENT: For every dollar given, 34 more people can be reached with the truth about abortion. Will you join us in this life-saving work as a monthly donor today?

The police in Swalwell’s ad showed up at dinner time – by all accounts a reasonable hour when most people are prepared to receive visitors. The FBI agents who arrested Paul Vaughn and Mark Houck, on the other hand, arrived around 7 o’clock in the morning, when many people are not yet even awake, much less dressed and presentable. Indeed, some of Vaughn’s children were still sleeping, and Vaughn himself was taken away in an undershirt and jeans.

And it wasn’t just two officers who arrived to arrest these two unarmed, pro-life men. Somewhere between 15 and 25 FBI agents arrived to arrest Mark Houck, and at least two carloads of agents came to arrest Paul Vaughn — both seemingly overkill, as neither man had a criminal record.

The police in Swalwell’s ad calmly explained why they were there and what the charges against the fictional woman were. They also didn’t draw their guns until the father of the family advanced on them, yelling. The FBI agents who stormed the Houck and Vaughn homes, however, reportedly had their guns drawn before they even got to the families’ front doors. In the case of Paul Vaughn, no explanation whatsoever of the charges against him was given to his pleading wife – he was simply taken away in handcuffs to an undisclosed location by gun-wielding agents who refused to so much as give her their names.

Again, no modern pro-life law mandates arresting women who have abortions. However, the Department of Justice under the Biden administration is actually arresting parents in front of their children in a much more intimidating fashion than what this fictional political ad depicts – simply for exercising their First Amendment rights and protesting the killing of preborn children.

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