Man who shouted abuse and attacked pro-life display apologises, pays for damage
LONDON, August 13, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A man who hurled abuse at a group of pro-life activists in London, England last November 15, and damaged their display, which included graphic images of aborted babies, has since written a letter of apology and paid for the damage he caused to the display.
Abort 67 volunteer John Rodger was showing the display at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service Richmond facility in London, when a woman and a man, whom Andrew Stephenson, the founder and head of the pro-life group, described as “very abusive,” “started having a go at the team, talking about her f***ing uterus”.
At that point the man, Chris Langley, took one of the sandwich board signs the group uses to warn passers-by of the graphic images they are about to see, and threw it over a hedge into a neighbouring garden.
“He was trying to grab our camera which was on a chest harness. But he took the signs and destroyed them,” Stephenson told LifeSiteNews.com today.
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Both Langley and Rodger then called police, who arrested Langley, took him to the local police station and “cautioned” him. Abort 67 had to take separate legal action, with the help of Christian Legal Centre, to get compensation for the loss of the signs, an amount that came to £730.
Mr. Langley was ordered to write a letter of apology, which Stephenson said consisted of one line: “Dear John Rodger, I apologise, [signed] Chris Langley.”
According to Stephenson, Langley threatened the group with similar treatment if they ever returned to the BPAS facility in Richmond. “He was very clear he’d do the same thing again every time we went back,” he said.
“We’re very pleased that a resolution has been reached. The man who damaged the group's property has apologised and paid for the damage he caused,” said the Christian Legal Centre in a press release.
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Legal Centre, said, “We’re proud to stand side by side with Abort67. The work they are doing is changing public opinion and saving lives. We’re always ready to support them and challenge anyone who tries to disrupt their work.”
Stephenson said that physical violence and threats of violence are common while doing sidewalk pro-life work. “We understand that people get angry when they see these images, but there’s a great deal of concern that people lack a level of self-control to act reasonably,” he said.
However, he said that those who object to the images are really just “shooting the messenger”. “If abortion causes such an angry reaction why do we put up with it in our society?”
“It’s a misplaced anger, because we’re not the ones killing these babies. We think it’s right that people get upset when they see these pictures. A lot of people, and maybe Mr. Langley himself, will eventually understand that it’s the doctors who are doing this, all we’re doing is lifting the lid on it.”
“Maybe if they are getting angry about it, they should consider changing their support for abortion,” he added.
Abort 67 maintains that their use of graphic images of aborted children, together with a non-confrontational, apologetics style of public witness, changes minds and hearts that would otherwise never have the opportunity to see or hear the truth. Stephenson told LifeSiteNews.com that even when they are violently attacked, and their displays vandalised, they consider their work to be ever more effective.
Stephenson pointed to the history of social reform movements, saying, “If the reformers were guided by the anger, we’d still have slavery, child prostitution and children going up chimneys.
“There’s this unreasonable fear in the pro-life movement of upsetting people which is digging us deeper into these problems. It drives me up the wall that pro-life people are so hemmed in by this fear. You’ve got to accept that dealing with difficult issues is going to cause people to get angry. Otherwise you should take up a nice hobby. Gardening maybe.”
Abort67 was founded to bring the Genocide Awareness Project (GAP) to Britain. GAP uses large banners of photos of aborted children, juxtaposed with other historical atrocities like the Nazi Holocaust and the lynching of black men in the American South.