A thousand pro-life activists gathered outside the Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Friday in response to aggressive bully tactics from pro-abortion State Representative Brian Sims. The Pennsylvania representative received pushback from pro-lifers and even some pro-choicers after he posted videos on social media of himself harassing an elderly pro-lifer praying the rosary (to whom he referred as an “old white lady”) outside a Planned Parenthood which has failed more than half of its recent health inspections. In addition, Sims harassed three teenagers and their mother, offering to donate $100 to Planned Parenthood if his social media followers would give him the names and addresses of the minors, something known as “doxxing.”
The event was organized by Live Action and other national leaders. Live Action president and founder Lila Rose told CBS Philly that the large pro-life crowd showed “the strength of the pro-life community, that the pro-life community in Philadelphia and beyond will not back down to violence, bullying and intimidation.”
Nationwide, violence against pro-lifers — especially those in front of abortion facilities — has been increasing. Recently, an elderly pro-life woman was assaulted and injured after she was attacked while exercising her constitutionally-protected right of assembly and free speech. Pro-life organizations on campus such as Students for Life and Created Equal are also seeing increased pro-abortion violence, often ignored by the media.
Rose, who has gone undercover inside Planned Parenthood, noted the abortion business’s complicity in covering up the suspected and known sexual abuse of children. Last year, Live Action released a report and docuseries exposing this systemic cover-up at Planned Parenthood.
Rose paid homage to the 900 preborn children killed every day at Planned Parenthood, and began her speech with a shout-out to local groups and others assembled there:
- Pro-life Union of Greater Philadelphia
- Pennsylvania Family Policy Council
- Sidewalk Advocates for Life
- Students for Life
- 40 Days for Life
- Sidewalk Servants
- Susan B. Anthony List
- And Then There Were None
- The Culture Project
“And all the other amazing warriors and silent heroes here who have been working in the pro-life movement for years…. We are here to back you up.”
Rose then zeroed in on Rep. Brian Sims, telling the crowd, “An elected Representative for the State House in Pennsylvania… filmed himself harassing… making sexist and racist comments against an elderly woman, against a mother and her two daughters and their friend, and a young man… making hateful comments about their faith.”
Sims had been invited multiple times to meet with pro-lifers but failed to show up during the rally. The victims of Sims’ targeting, who were simply practicing their protected first amendment rights, were not present for their own safety, after Sims’ threatened to dox the teens.
Sims’ “apology” for his behavior contained an admission to having been a volunteer pro-abortion facility escort. In addition, in 2014 he was awarded the “Champion of Choice” award by NARAL. Planned Parenthood has also supported his political campaign.
To shouts of “Shameful” and “Resign Now!” Rose called out the broader Democrat party:
This threatening menacing behavior has yet to been decried… by any member of the Democratic Party of the State of Pennsylvania. And Brian Sims has not yet resigned…. So we are calling on State Rep. Brian Sims and all those who dare to harass and violate the First Amendment rights of the constituents here in Philadelphia to step down…. This is behavior that is unbecoming for a state representative.
Rose then reminded the group of its true mission:
But our movement and our cause is so much bigger…. We are here because we stand for the dignity of every human life. We are here because we do not cower to bullies and harassment…. We will not stop praying outside abortion clinics… until every life is protected….
Dr. Monique Ruberu, a pro-life OBGYN with 40 Days For Life, said that in downtown Philadelphia, over 10,000 preborn babies lives are “ended every year.” She noted many babies have been spared due to the “local Philly heroes — my Sidewalk Servants… consistently responding with love and with kindness.”
Dr. Ruberu said that sidewalk counselors there “are harassed often” by Rep. Brian Sims but that they “forgive him and are praying for him.”
“We are asking God today for a Saul to Paul type of conversion today in Brian,” she said. “We do not wish his ruin but we wish for him to grow in God’s grace…. We hope that this instance is not wasted….”
Pro-life Union Board Member, Richara Krajewski, a Black pro-life woman, called certain ideas “real racism,” such as “thinking that white people, including older white women cannot care about the lives and the futures of Black and Brown women,” and “advocating for the annihilation of someone whose value is not evident to you.”
“I joined the Pro-life Union… because I wanted to pray and labor with people who want to love others sacrificially…. Who have housed those who have no shelter,” Krajewski said. “Who put shoes on the feet of those who have nothing and who struggle… who feel called to offer prayerful witness… at great expense when people yell and spit in your face and remain peaceful knowing we are here to offer hope and love.”
“Mr. Sims, we will not stop coming here to pray,” she added. “I, too, have a right to stand here and offer hope to others.”
Matt Walsh, author at The Daily Wire, stated that he hoped rallies like this one “become the trend.”
“We are saying to the pro-life activists who are out on the front lines who are taking the slings and arrows that they are not alone,” Walsh said. “We will not be intimidated…. We will not be silenced. So, Brian… if you try to shut us up we are only going to get louder… because we know that our cause is just… to defend the unborn.”
Former Texas Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson reiterated Rose’s claims about Planned Parenthood, “This clinic has failed its inspections year after year…. Planned Parenthood is covering up the statutory rape of minors… not sterilizing instruments…. That is not healthcare….”
Johnson also noted how Sims failed to appear after she personally invited him several times, saying, “It is cowardly to defend death. It is courageous to defend life.”
“No matter what persecution we face here on sidewalk, it is nothing compared to what those innocent children go through inside abortion clinics across the country,” Johnson added.
Ashley Garecht, the mother of the teens who were harassed by Sims noted that Philadelphia is “where the self-evident unalienable right to life was first declared,” adding, “I want you to know that no one – not even elected official can take that away from us.”
Before ending, the pro-life group prayed for Rep. Sims and for women and children (born and preborn) harmed by abortion.
The “Rally Against Bullying” drew national media attention. The local CBS Affiliate in Philadelphia, which sent helicopters over the site, documented the massively large pro-life crowd on the ground.
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