Harassing Abortionists Will Not Make Them Pro-Life

stand true

Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, a pro-life group, recently staged a protest outside of abortionist Richard Agnew’s home, where they wrote messages on the street in chalk. The group wrote messages like Abortion is murder, Your neighbor is a monster, and Agnew kills babies. Agnew’s neighbors were not pleased about the protest, and wanted vandalism charges filed. Police also considered battery charges, but ultimately, the district attorney’s office chose not to file any charges.

The group began protesting Dr. Richard Agnew, an obstetrician affiliated with Hoag Hospital, after he objected to the hospital’s ban on elective abortions. Complaints from neighbors inspired the city council to pass an ordinance saying that protesters of a private residence must do so from at least 300 feet away.

On July 29 and July 1, members of the group returned to Agnew’s neighborhood and, while complying with the 300 foot limit, wrote phrases like “your neighbor is a monster” around the doctor’s home, The Daily Pilot reports. His family has repeatedly said that abortions are a pretty small part of what he does at work. His son said that the fetuses involved had “severe problems.” His wife has referred to the protesters as threatening, saying she was afraid somebody would “get killed if we don’t address the matter.”

Agnew’s neighbors don’t like the protesters either, and want them to be charged with vandalism. But the case filed by detectives the O.C. District Attorney’s office regarding the most recent chalking wasn’t about vandalism or free speech; it was about reports of a fight that broke out between the protesters and residents. Agnew’s supporter and neighbor Paula Durnian, 59, and Survivors founder Jeff White, 56, citizen’s arrested each other, both accusing the other of being hostile. That case was dropped today, according to D.A. spokeswoman Farrah Emami, due to lack of evidence.

The founder of Survivors says if it came down to it, they would sue over their First Amendment right to chalk up the streets, but that may not actually be something that’s protected as free speech. Just ask Occupy L.A. Defacing any property, even if you do it with something non-permanent like chalk, is still considered vandalism under California law.

Jill Stanek posted a poll about the issue, asking her readers if pro-life activists should write messages with chalk at the homes of abortionists — currently, about 65% have answered yes.

In a different case, notorious late-term abortionist Martin Haskell had chosen not to be present at the August 15th court ruling at which a judge ruled that his clinic must close. His wife, however, did attend. Mark Harrington of Created Equal and Bryan Kemper of Stand True also attended, and followed her out of the courtroom, telling her to repent and turn to Jesus, to close down her husband’s clinic, and to stop the killing of innocent babies. (Of course, a judge had literally just ruled that the clinic must close, so requesting that she close her husband’s clinic seems a little odd.) The video below shows the exchange.

Here’s an honest question for pro-lifers: do you really believe that actions such as these will change the hearts and minds of abortionists?

This kind of behavior is not going to endear abortion-minded people to the pro-life movement. It turns us into nothing more than a caricature, a living stereotype of what abortion advocates make us out to be. The pro-lifers in each situation didn’t break the law, but how does it help the pro-life movement to hover over the wife of an abortionist, chanting in her ear that she needs to turn her life to Jesus? Instead of changing her mind, those men have just confirmed in her mind that pro-lifers will harass her and her husband. Instead of seeming approachable and loving, they seem like stalkers peddling a hateful Jesus. Dr. Agnew and his family continue to fear pro-lifers, rather than feel that they are people who would love and accept them were he to renounce abortion. His neighbors, who have absolutely nothing to do with Dr. Agnew’s slaughter of innocent children, are more likely to rally around their neighbor than agree with the strangers who descended onto their neighborhood and wrote hateful messages all over the street.

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should. Winning this fight means winning hearts and minds — stalking and harassing people, even abortionists who commit the ultimate atrocity by killing unborn babies, is not going to do that. Rather, these actions will only serve to entrench these people even more in the pro-abortion movement. We cannot combat evil with hatred. The pro-life movement needs to serve as a counterpart to the abortion lobby, and we would be better served to act with love and compassion than with hate and hostility.

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3 thoughts on “Harassing Abortionists Will Not Make Them Pro-Life

  1. The actions of these protesters have nothing in common with the “encounter” with Christ that the Pope is urging us to bring to those who are unchurched, unaware of, or even opposed to what we believe. In fact, their actions come off as attention-seeking — that is, seeking attention for the self, not for the Truth — and about appearing to be in the right, which all combines to make a pretty shoddy witness.

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  2. I don’t know what the strategy is for the particular groups you’ve mentioned, however, I do know that the abortion industry thrives because of skillful deception. I’ve been involved in prolife circles for a number of years and I think it could very well be that when we talk about exposing doctors, for example, this is not about endearing abortionists to our side but rather blowing their cover, and not giving them the benefit of the deceptions they’ve made to the public. I think this is important to the community, however, it also needs to be done carefully and with much prayer and guidance. This is a tough call. You have to realize though, that many people still do not know what the abortion industry actually does, they’ve only ever encountered it through euphemisms that hide reality. When we talk about exposing these doctors, for the sake of comparison, think of when we encounter someone who is a pedophile, for example, and who perhaps has victimized many children, we don’t just imagine that we can be endearing witnesses to that person and that will make everything better. No. We do pray for them, we hope for conversion, but we also expose their actions and take legal action. And it is messy, and I think there is no easy way. It’s very hard.

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  3. Abortion is very tough for me. I have always been pro-life and was coerced by circumstance into an abortion. It devastated me knowing I murdered my own child. I spent much of my life after in self-destruction, including marrying a violent man in hopes that he would kill me when I failed at my attempt to take my own life.

    The real argument is to establish personhood and rights to the unborn. I truly believe that research will sooner or later REQUIRE that we determine personhood and some amount of rights to the developing baby, even while it remains dependent on the mother’s womb to continue its life. We might struggle getting that defined to the moment of conception, but the harder we work to establish the personhood of the developing baby, the better headway I think we can make.

    I agree, though – we make no real impact harassing, frightening or threatening abortion supporters. There is irony that some suggest killing an abortionist because life is sacred.

    God has blessed me with healing, and the opportunity to counsel other women to continue their pregnancies. I am grateful and undeserving of His grace, but astonished and humbly willing to serve Him as I can.

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