UPDATE: Since writing began for this article just one month ago, half a dozen new stories of attacks on pro-lifers praying outside of abortion clinics have emerged. The most recent is from San Francisco on March 19th, where an 85 year old man taking part in a peaceful 40 Days for Life Vigil was shoved to the sidewalk and kicked. The story is here.
Recently, we profiled acts of violence against abortion clinic property and staff. News stories on the topic abound in the mainstream media.
There are fewer articles about violence against pro-lifers. Most people can imagine that pro-lifers praying outside an abortion clinic receive the occasional middle finger from passersby. Likely far fewer are aware that countless times pro-lifers have been physically attacked, and even killed because of their convictions.
- Attacks on crisis pregnancy centers/pregnancy care centers, either in the form of smear campaigns or physical force
- Physical assaults, and murders of pro-lifers praying outside of abortion clinics
- Harassment and vandalism of pro-life organizations’ members or property
- Vandalism of pro-life displays on college campuses
- Harassment and death threats towards pro-life politicians
- Abortion providers and staff who are also convicted criminals
- Assaults and murders of pregnant women who refuse to have an abortion
Additionally, in the last few years our neighbors to the north in Canada have experienced a significant uptick in aggression towards pro-lifers.
Note: Where available, articles have been embedded directly for brevity’s sake. When unable to be embedded, background information is given and then each story is linked to. Additionally, for the sake of space, this is only a small sample of recent stories, mostly within the last 7 years.
Attacks on Pregnancy Care Centers/Crisis Pregnancy Centers
A summary of the ongoing and coordinated effort to discredit pregnancy care centers, also known as crisis pregnancy centers, is here.
Of note, the attack listed below occurred just one month ago in February of 2019.
Assaults and Murders of Peaceful Pro-Lifers outside Abortion Clinics
In February, 2017 in Ventura, California, a man who was accompanying a woman for an abortion at Planned Parenthood threatened pro-lifers on the sidewalk with a knife. One wonders whether the woman was coerced or equally threatened.
In 2011, a homemade firebomb was thrown at participants in a Montana 40 Days for Life vigil. The police officers who responded to the attack were noticeably nonchalant about the incident.
In September 2009, pro-lifer James Pouillon was shot dead while praying and protesting abortion outside of a high school in his Michigan hometown. Prosecutors confirmed that he was killed for his pro-life convictions.
In 1993, Alabama pro-life activist Jerry Simon was shot through the window of his home by a pro-choice activist.
Harassment, Vandalism and Assaults of members of Pro-Life Organizations
In August 2018, a pro-abortion Kansas man threatened to rape and kill an Operation Rescue staff member and members of her family. He furthermore stated that he had followed the employee and her family around town on multiple occasions. He was criminally convicted in January, 2019.
In October of 2017, a fake bomb was found at the Dallas 40 Days for Life vigil site. Just two weeks before, a man both vandalized the site and left behind a doll that had been beheaded.
The story above is from 2014.
More stories are here.
College Campuses are a Battleground
Protests of Pro-Life Speakers
Kristen Hawkins is president of Students for Life of America. Her talks on college campuses, at Christian and non-Christian campuses alike, are regularly protested by vocal and sometimes aggressive abortion supporters.
Vandalism of Pro-Life Displays
An eye-opening, interactive map of Students for Life of America college campus displays that have been vandalized since 2012 is here. Their statement on college campus vandalism and related acts is below.
Already in 2019, Students for Life of America displays have been vandalized at college campuses in Michigan and Connecticut.
Just one example of a 2017 college vandalism incident is here.
High Schools Experience Vandalism, Too
While college campuses are the most frequent targets of pro-choice aggression towards pro-life displays, high schools are not immune to attacks. Just one example is listed below, with others easily searchable online.
Vandalism and Death Threats for Pro-Life Politicians
In November, 2015, a Missouri attorney-general candidate received a death threat attributed to his role in investigating Planned Parenthood clinics.
Abortion Providers who are Convicted Criminals
A full report on women raped or sexually assaulted by their abortion providers is here. Over 30 different abortion providers are identified as perpetrators from the late 1980s to the 2000s.
In 2012, South Carolina abortion provider Dr. Gary Boyle pointed a loaded gun at three 40 Days for Life participants peacefully praying outside his clinic.
Also in 2012, Lubbock, Texas Planned Parenthood CEO Tony Ray Thornton was arrested for indecent exposure. He exposed his genitals in a public park.
In 2008, Washington abortion provider Dr. George Elliott Kabacy was arrested for possession of child pornography, including depictions of child rape and other acts.
In 2003, Georgia abortion provider Dr. Charles Rossman induced labor to begin an abortion on a 31-week-pregnant patient, but then abandoned her in his office. He fled the United States immediately after, and was extradited from Germany for trial in 2014. He was also accused of criminal acts in two other abortion cases.
In 2001, Oklahoma abortion provider Dr. John Baxter Hamilton beat his wife and then choked her to death in their home. He had been having an affair with a stripper and his wife became aware of it. News network NBC did a Dateline episode about the case.
In 1997, Mississippi abortion provider Dr. Malachy Dehenre shot and killed his wife in their home. He had previously been accused of raping a 21-year-old patient at his abortion clinic, and he was responsible for the deaths of several women due to botched abortions.
Pregnant Women Killed or Attacked for Refusing Abortion
The stories of 82 women who were murdered for refusing to have abortions in the last 30 years are here. Descriptions are brief, but usually graphic due to the nature of the crime. Several recent individual stories of women killed, injured, or otherwise punished for refusing an abortion are linked to below.
More stories are available here.
Physical Assaults against Pro-Lifers in Canada
In the fall of 2018, two disturbing news stories came out of Toronto, Canada just one day apart.
September 30th, 2018
In the first, a Toronto man approached a group of pro-lifers peacefully demonstrating in the city’s west end. He first vandalized their signs, scribbling on them even while they were being held. He then spoke to the leader of the group briefly before roundhouse-kicking her and ripping a ribbon off of her clothing. The man reportedly had a previous history of assaulting another pro-lifer at an August rally, intentionally pushing a woman into a pole. The video from the September 30th incident is here.
October 1st, 2018
In the second, members of Toronto Against Abortion were peacefully protesting outside of Ryerson University in Toronto on October 1st. A Ryerson University student, employed by the school’s Office of Social Innovation and a member of the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective, approached the group. She first kicked a sign held by one of the TAA members, and then hurled a dolly at another woman protestor. The attacker further grabbed the woman by her backpack and tried to fight her. Video is here.
A Pattern of Violence
Toronto Against Abortion’s website furthermore chronicles over 2 years of vandalism, theft, and aggression towards pro-life protestors by members of the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective, a student organization at Ryerson University. Most of the incidents documented received little or no police intervention and minimal or no response from the university. More video is here.
See also the story below.