Body camera footage recently saved a Missouri pro-lifer from going to court for alleged stalking after an abortion facility worker made false accusations about him.
John Ryan is no stranger to the pro-life movement, having pioneered sidewalk counseling activism in his home state as early as the 1970s. Usually, he stands peacefully outside the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Illinois, a late-term abortion facility located just across the Illinois/Missouri border. Along with other members of the pro-life group, Defenders of the Unborn, Ryan prays and offers abortion-minded women resources about abortion alternatives.
In a statement emailed to Live Action News, Ryan’s attorney Brian Fellows of Thomas More Society, noted that on August 6, 2021, Ryan engaged a pregnant abortion worker in conversation as she walked into the building via a rear entry. Ryan called out to the woman, India Gibbs, that she could find other employment through AbortionWorker.com — the website for And Then There Were None, a ministry that’s assisted nearly 600 abortion workers in leaving the industry and finding other employment.
As he walked toward her, Gibbs responded with a statement about her own preborn baby, to which Ryan returned, “Your baby? What about these babies? What about these babies? What about these babies?” As the woman continued to walk towards the building, Ryan first referenced her own child, saying, “She’s a gift from God,” and then advocated for the babies slotted to be aborted that day, “These children are a gift from God. These children are a gift from God.”
READ: Pro-life win delivered in unpredictable New York case against sidewalk counselors
The exchange ended when Gibbs entered the building. Not long after, police showed up in response to Gibbs’ call. After taking Ryan’s information, the police left without incident. But when Ryan returned to pray and protest one week later on the 13th, police returned and served him with a temporary restraining order that both required him to leave the premises and to stay 300 feet away from India Gibbs.
The order was based on an August 6th “verified petition” filed by India Gibbs, meaning that she provided sworn testimony before a judge accusing Ryan of stalking her. The petition reads:
John Ryan agressively [sic] pursued me yelling insults as he began his pursiut [sic]. As I tried to unlock the door he stood within inches of me while yelling and attempted to stop me from opening the door…The respondent stood in the doorway with me until I was able to slam it from the other side. Once inside the garage the respondent banged on the door and contiuned [sic] to yell obscenities about my pregnancy, threaten my unborn child, religions [sic] slurs & employment status.
An addendum to the provided space on the petition read:
All of these events are recorded on surveillence [sic] cameras. I have the recording and angles of the events/harassment on my phone and a security camera record. Survelience [sic] shows the pursuit and doorway interaction.
The problem with Gibbs’ account was that it was entirely fabricated. Commenting on the footage from Ryan’s own bodycam, his lawyer noted:
This woman’s accusations are just not true. John’s body camera recorded the entire incident from before its start to well past the end of his interaction with her. John spoke directly to her from a distance of over 15 feet away. He never got anywhere close to within reaching distance of the back door through which the woman entered the abortion facility. When she closed the door, John walked back to the front of the building.
Watching the video, John clearly made no threats, spoke no obscenities, and uttered no religious slurs. As to his offer to this abortion worker to help her find alternative employment, there is absolutely nothing wrong about that. Over 550 abortion facility workers to date have accepted that offer and left the abortion industry through the help they found at abortionworker.com.
When Ryan and his lawyer arrived in court “prepared to show the Body Camera video to the judge, the clinic worker attorneys promptly dismissed the petition.” Wearing a body camera provided evidence and protection for Ryan, enabling him to stand against false accusations — as it does for many pro-lifers who minister on the sidewalks of abortion facilities.
Ryan has seen his fair share of harassment while sidewalk counseling. In May of 2018, he was fully acquitted of charges made against him by a St. Louis Planned Parenthood employee who falsely claimed that he had made a terrorist threat against her facility on December 31, 2016. That same year, he was held at gunpoint by the male companion of an abortion-minded woman at Hope Clinic for Women, the same facility where the India Gibbs incident took place.
In August of this year, Live Action News reported on disturbing evidence gathered by Ryan suggesting that a St. Louis-area Catholic hospital system is referring its patients to Hope Clinic for Women, in direct contradiction to Church teachings on the sanctity of life.
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