Pro-abortion violence–a redundant phrase?

Pro-aborts seem to be getting frustrated these days–that may partly explain the recent rash of violent threats and attacks against pro-lifers. Jill Stanek reported Friday on the “Molotov cocktail” thrown at a 40 Days for Life participant in Montana, and just a few weeks ago, radical “pro-choice terrorist” Theodore Shulman made death threats against Robert George, Fr. Frank Pavone, and Lila Rose, among other pro-life leaders. The FBI arrested Shulman last month.

Of course, pro-aborts have a long and storied history of violence and intimidation against pro-lifers, especially against sidewalk counselors–although you wouldn’t know it from the majority of media coverage. Take the infamous case of the “J Street Five” from 1991, in which a California judge fined five pro-life sidewalk counselors nearly $100,000 for supposed acts of intimidation in front of the Feminist Women’s Health Center, although in reality it was the clinic’s aggressive abortion escorts who were committing violence against the sidewalk counselors:

In 1991, Judge Long refused to admit video and photographic evidence from Lewis and his colleagues. Some of those images were of aggressive tactics by “Clinic Escort Coordinator” Alison Gude, a local lesbian activist hired by Heckert in February 1989.

Gude no longer works for the clinic, but some of her methods persist, according to Lewis, who notes that she co-authored a manual called Clinic Defense: A Model. The manual, which the judge also refused to admit as evidence, was published by the Bay and Sacramento Coalition against Operation Rescue.

Operation Rescue, or OR, is one of the best-known anti-abortion activist groups.

Samples of Gude’s manual, according to a 1991 National Review article, include:

  • “Even if the sidewalk is ‘public,’ we’ve had success at putting enough of us out, early enough, to bully the [pro-lifers] into staying across the street.”
  • “There are innumerable instances of clinic defenders neutralizing male ORs by shouting, ‘Get your hands off me, don’t you dare touch me,’ all the while they are tugging or pushing OR out of line.”
  • Our best work is done before police arrive, or when there are not enough police to prevent us from doing what we have to do. Get in place before the cops can mess with it; establish balance of power early; do key acts requiring physical contact as much as possible before cops have enough people to intervene.
  • “Singing goddess songs while they do their Hail Marys is a lovely way to affirm an alternative view of appropriate religious activities.”

In the video produced by Lewis and his colleagues, escorts are shown taunting and spitting at pro-life activists, throwing punches, screaming expletives, shoving and body-blocking, according to a 1994 story in The New American magazine.

The videotape of the assaults the J Street Five were subjected to is shocking–with any luck, it will find its way onto YouTube sooner rather than later.

Only a year ago, an abortion escort at the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in San Jose physically assaulted Lila while she was handing out literature.

It’s not too surprising that workers and volunteers engaged in one of the deepest violences imaginable–the killing of defenseless unborn children–would use violence against those who disagree with them. What is surprising is those who don’t see the connection.

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