Pro-life law firm releases Planned Parenthood escort training manual

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The Thomas More Society, a pro-life law firm, has released the Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania “Patient Escort Training Manual,” which gives details about the behavior expected of abortion facility escorts. The firm released the manual in an effort to educate pro-life sidewalk counselors on what is considered appropriate and inappropriate behavior for pro-abortion escorts.

According to the Thomas More Society, the manual tells escorts how to dress and how to interact with others in addition to listing security procedures and responsibilities. The manual states that escorts are required to “be calm” and “ignore” pro-life activists. It states that it is “unacceptable behavior to engage with, or antagonize the protestors.”

The Thomas More Society first encountered the manual during its defense of pro-life sidewalk counselor Mark Houck, who was acquitted in January of charges he faced in violation of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. Houck had pushed an abortion facility escort who had been threatening toward Houck’s son. According to the information in the manual, that escort was in violation of the escort rules.

During Houck’s trial, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania explained that the manual “covers security escalations in regard to who to escalate certain security incidents to. It talks about the FACE Act. It talks about what protestors can and cannot do.”

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Peter Breen, Thomas More Society Executive Vice President and Head of Litigation, explained, “We are sharing this manual in hopes that sidewalk counselors will be able to use the information to assist in their creative, committed, and loving approaches to reaching women and men in need. We hope that, out of the grave injustice done to Mark Houck and his family, many lives will be saved by pro-life advocates.”

Houck, the founder of a men’s ministry and a regular sidewalk counselor at Planned Parenthood in downtown Philadelphia, was arrested in September when about 20 FBI agents reportedly came to his home armed with AR-15s, reportedly traumatizing his young children. The arrest was due to an altercation outside of Planned Parenthood in October of 2021 in which a regular abortion facility escort allegedly verbally accosted Houck’s 12-year-old son. When Houck stepped between the escort and his own son, Houck reportedly had to physically push the escort away to stop the verbal assault on his child.

He is not the only pro-lifer to face abuse from abortion facility escorts. As the Thomas More Society states, Erika Schanzenback of Tennessee was harassed by abortion facility escorts who licked her arms, blared bullhorns in her face, and screamed profanities, taunts, and obscene gestures in her face. In addition, Daniel French of Alabama was sued for the destruction of property concerning a $25 umbrella that broke when the abortion facility escort hit French over the head with it. And the head of an abortion escort program in New York lied under oath during testimony concerning 10 pro-life sidewalk counselors in Brooklyn, New York.

The full Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania escort training manual can be found here.

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