When Compassion is "Hate"

The State of California comes down on pro-lifers

Apparently, in California, it is now a “hate crime” to stand outside an abortion clinic and offer women help in bringing their pregnancies to term. On October 15th, 2001, California governor Gray Davis signed into law a bill that defines sidewalk counseling as “harassment” and, yes, a “hate crime.”

Now, as I understand it, a “hate crime” happens when I vandalize, assault or kill someone because I don’t like his race or religion or something like that. I’m having a hard time understanding how offering to help a woman bring her child to term could be construed as “hateful.”

I’m sure, however, that there are others of you who say, “Good. I’ve read about those anti-abortion people in the papers, and they’re all obviously violent, insensitive idiots. They do horrible things to those peace-loving reproductive rights people. They should be kept far away from abortion clinics.”

If that was your reaction, you should be interested in a report recently released by California Right to Life. Called “The Abortion Crime Report,” it details the crimes committed by abortionists and pro-abortion activists. The data, using original sources (such as the Medical Board of California), documents 2297 incidents of pro-abortion violence and illegal activities – in California alone. The crimes, according to the Steven Ertelt of the Pro-Life Infonet, include “murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, torture, kidnapping, rape, stalking, death threats, bomb threats (including false-threat reports from alleged pro-lifers), sex crimes, conspiracy, drug crimes, property crimes, medical crimes and fraud-related crimes.”

The report details numerous cases of gross medical malpractice, including cases of abortion “doctors” raping patients with foreign objects, sexually assaulting patients, engaging in sexual conduct with nurses during patient sessions, and falsely reporting negative STD tests as positive in order to collect treatment money. And that’s before we even begin to talk about all of the women who died during or as a result of these so-called “safe and legal” abortion procedures. One doctor, Bruce Steir of Los Angeles, was charged with murder after Sharon Hamptlon bled to death of a perforated uterus inflicted by Dr. Steir during an abortion procedure. Despite the fact that Steir lost his medical license, and that numerous other complaints of malpractice and gross incompetence emerged during the investigation, the National Organization for Women, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, and the National Abortion Federation all vigorously defended Steir. These groups, which supposed

Of particular interest to me were the cases where pro-abortion activists made false claims against pro-lifers. Take, for example, the case of Frank Mendiola and David Friedman. These two militant pro-abortion activists caused a huge media stir when they falsely accused pro-lifers of a myriad of violent crimes and threats against themselves, pro-abortion doctors and legislators. Police later discovered that Mendiola had actually made the threatening phone calls himself. David Friedman, a National Organization for Women organizer, went so far as to appear at a press conference wearing a large ace bandage over his arm. Police dismissed his case after they discovered no evidence of the crimes against him, but plenty of evidence of his long history of phony police reports and false accusations of violence.

I was also very interested in the reports of violence against pro-life activists by pro-abortion demonstrators. In March of 1989, three pro-abortion activists were arrested after igniting explosives in a church during a pro-life rally. Grenades were found underneath the speaking platform at the same event. That, of course, is in addition to innumerable assaults against pro-life demonstrators at rallies, rescues and other pro-life events.

These assaults caught my attention because I have witnessed them firsthand. A few years back, when I lived in California myself, I was deeply involved as a media spokesperson for the pro-life movement in Northern California. It was a source of constant frustration for me, and for everyone there, to see how our events were handled by the police and reported in the local news. We would conduct a completely peaceful, non-violent, passive, even silent event. Pro-abortion counter protesters would beat our people, assault them, spit on them, and do all sorts of horrible things. Our people never, at any event I attended, fought back. Sometimes the perpetrators were arrested. Sometimes they weren’t. When they were arrested, the media reports would list the number of people arrested, but would never mention that the people arrested were pro-abortion counter protesters. Those articles left the reader with the distinct impression that it was the pro-lifers themselves who had been violent.

Of course, nothing has changed where the media is concerned. This report was developed as a response to a legislative report entitled “Crimes Against Reproductive Freedom,” written by California state senator Debbie Ortiz, sponsor of the “hate crimes” bill mentioned earlier. This report, which was really nothing more than an unsubstantiated effort to paint pro-lifers as “terrorists” and bolster support for her bill, was given wide coverage by the California news media. The Abortion Crimes Report, on the other hand, was distributed to every major paper in the state of California, as well as all of the medical writers and bureau chiefs. The report received zero press coverage. Zero.

I realize that a few crazies who perpetuate crimes in the name of unborn children have plagued the pro-life movement. People like Clayton Lee Waagner, who sent phony anthrax letters to abortion clinics, and James Kopp, who is suspected of the murder of abortionist Bernard Sleppian, do our movement no good. But these men are anomalies, denounced by literally every leader of the pro-life movement. The men and women who make up the rank and file of this movement are peaceful, loving, God-fearing people. They want to stop violence, not perpetuate it.

The Abortion Crimes Report proves – beyond a shadow of a doubt -- that the same is not true of the other side.

To order a copy of The Abortion Crime Report, send a request to California Right to Life Inc., 1610 Oak Park Boulevard, Pleasant Hill, California, 94523.

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