By Kathleen Gilbert
PORTLAND, Oregon, September 30, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Obama administration has teamed up with leading pro-abortion lobbyist groups to host a training seminar aimed at combating pro-life “violence” against the abortion industry, which is defined to include even free-speech activities such as pro-life picketing, boycotting, and signage.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice sponsored an August 29 seminar in the FBI's Portland headquarters. The names of Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation (NAF), and the Feminist Majority Foundation appear prominently on the front page of a document prepared for the event which compiled statistics, a list of pro-life websites, and case summaries, among other data. The 84-page document was handed out by FBI and DOJ officials to participants, according to a source in attendance.
Although one portion of the document – on page 67 – lists “pro-life counseling centers” as among providers of “reproductive health services,” the document is generally organized as a guide to the “organized assault on women's health care” by “anti-abortion extremists” since Roe v. Wade, and targets such activities as pro-life picketing and boycotting.
On page 67, a section entitled “US Department of Justice FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act) presentation” includes “large graphic signs etc. not covered” among actions that constitute “intimidation,” and on page 15 specifically references the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's Genocide Awareness Project among a list of recent pro-life “violence.”
The document lists pro-lifers entering abortion facilities, pro-life blockades, and “stalking” as “severe violence” directed against abortion clinics in recent years, while “intimidation” is predicated of any “noise disturbance” or “pamphlets targeting staff,” which could include documents warning women of an abortionist's record injuring or killing patients.
Another part of the DOJ presentation urges trainees to “build a good working relationship with providers.” “We tell providers to build good relationships with you,” state the authors. “Get to know them. The more comfortable everyone is the easier it will be for you to do your job.”
One portion of the document lists the websites of several peaceful pro-life groups and leaders, such as David Bereit of 40 Days for Life, Judie Brown of the American Life League (ALL), Concerned Women for America, Human Life International, National Right to Life, Priests for Life, Rock for Life, Students for Life, and The Pill Kills, the ALL project noted by authors as an “anti birth control site.”
According to the appended agenda, speakers included both FBI and DOJ officials as well as representatives from NAF and Planned Parenthood. The Alliance Defense Fund notes that Julie Abbate of USDOJ, one of the speakers at the meeting, also filed a federal lawsuit in August 2010 against a pro-life advocate solely for leafleting while once allegedly crossing a driveway.
Neither the FBI nor the Department of Justice have returned calls and emails placed by LifeSiteNews.com as of press time.
Although an Alliance Defense Fund-allied attorney was able to attend the meeting upon request, ADF attorney Matt Bowman told LifeSiteNews.com that “the troubling thing is that they didn't invite him in the first place.”
“The resource guide is not only completely one-sided, it adopts the bias against free speech that the abortion movement has been trying to promote for years,” said Bowman.
“The resource guide is not only completely one-sided, it adopts the bias against free speech that the abortion movement has been trying to promote for years,” said Bowman, who called the document's targeting of peaceful pro-life groups and free-speech activities “ridiculous.”
“It raises a concern that this is now the official view of the FBI,” said Bowman. “I don't think they can pass the buck on this.”
Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America told LSN that the recent documents “show that the Department of Justice has become an arm of the abortion movement.”
“They're not using objective research and definitions, but adopting wholesale the scorched-earth tactics and propaganda of abortion groups,” said Wright. “This is a corrupt endeavor by the Obama administration to smear innocent pro-lifers. It harms the public's trust in our government and will be a stain on Pres. Obama's presidency.”
The documents echo an April 2009 Homeland Security report on domestic terrorism in which pro-life activities were branded as indicators of dangerous “rightwing extremism.” Janet Napolitano, the head of the Homeland Security Department, proved staunchly pro-abortion during her service as governor of Arizona.
To read the complete document, click here.