Sidewalk counselors assaulted in two separate incidents in Illinois

Coalition Life recently spoke with Live Action News about two separate incidents in which sidewalk counselors were assaulted or attacked in Illinois. Brian Westbrook, Executive Director of Coalition Life, said the violence against pro-life advocates has never been this high in the past.

Fairview Heights

In November of 2022, Planned Parenthood abortionist James Hobby intentionally struck a Coalition Life sidewalk counselor with his car. “He was driving down the middle, and he could have just driven out into the street — but he didn’t,” Westbrook said. “He made a curve at the very end, directly towards our sidewalk counselor. He went right up to his legs, stopped his car, honked his horn at him. And my team member was just like, what the heck is going on here? He’s stopped his car, just to honk his horn at him, and then moved forward, knocked him over into a ditch.”

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Video of the incident can be seen here. The police report, provided to Live Action News, confirmed that Hobby was the driver of the vehicle, and after reviewing the video footage, the responding officer also confirmed that Hobby intentionally struck the sidewalk counselor with his car:

The Subaru began to drive towards his location and he had a pamphlet, which he hands out to vehicles as they leave the business. The Subaru driver honked the horn and drove up next to him. The driver then swerved at him, which struck him and caused him to fall to his knees.

Flossmoor, Illinois

In January, Coalition Life team members were counseling abortion-minded women outside a Planned Parenthood facility. “As the two of them were working, one of the Planned Parenthood escorts came over and shoved [a female sidewalk counselor],” Westbrook told Live Action News. “He first and foremost hip-checked her, and then pushed her nearly to the ground. It was completely unprovoked. She did not say anything, yell at him, anything.”

Police were called to the scene, even though they typically try not to involve authorities.

“We deal with a lot of abuse without police officers,” Westbrook said. “But the police were called. They showed up, the escort lied to the police and said she ran into him and pushed him, and we showed him the videotape showing otherwise. The police report says no, you [the escort] were obviously the one at fault here.”

The police report was provided to Live Action News, which stated that Paul Noble — the Planned Parenthood escort — had been given a citation for battery. A court date for that charge is upcoming.


An increase in aggression

Westbrook said that while the group is used to people directing anger toward them, the violence is something new they have experienced since the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer.

“I think the increase is the behavior of those aggravated people,” he said. “So what I mean is, normally aggravated people just kind of yell and scream and, you know, flip us off. The behavior now is much more aggressive, but from the same number of people. An abortionist hitting us with his car? We’ve had them honk their horns at us, yell at us. This is not the first time necessarily, within the last year or so, that numerous different employees of Planned Parenthood will drive right up next to us — and they’re already speeding — and they’re not being cautious whatsoever. But we’ve not had any problems or incidents up until this last year of actual people touching us.”

They had, however, been threatened in the past — though those threats never materialized into violence. Now, they are taking extra precautions to ensure team members remain safe.

“We are always there with at least one other person,” he said. “That’s number one — always, always have an eyewitness. Never go out by yourself. We have very strict rules about being out there by yourself. Second, we have three video cameras running at any given time. So we have body cameras, two of which you wear, and the other one sits behind you.”

He added, “… The reason that [Noble] is going to court is because we had a video. And probably the reason he’s not going to come anywhere close to us in the next couple of months is because we caught it on video. So I think it’s a big deal that we catch things on video, and then we actively use the legal means to make sure that there’s no combatting it. Beyond that, just a lot of prayer. The final thing is, if you ever feel unsafe at all — even if it’s not logical — but we feel unsafe, our team leaves right away.”

Despite the potential danger, Coalition Life still hopes to expand, and bring its life-affirming message to more locations throughout the country.

“The abortion industry deserves the Christian community to stand in front of these abortion facilities,” Westbrook said. “And the women driving in deserve options.”

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