NEW YORK, September 1, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Obama justice officials have spent the past two years meeting with abortion lobbyists to strengthen a nationwide task force targeting pro-life witnesses and sidewalk counselors outside abortion facilities, something that has won the approval of a Planned Parenthood executive.
For an article on Thursday, NPR interviewed abortion leaders who lauded the policies of federal attorneys who are going out of their way to enforce more aggressively the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
“There’s been a substantial difference between this administration and the one immediately prior,” Ellen Gertzog, director of security for Planned Parenthood, told NPR. “From where we sit, there’s currently much greater willingness to carefully assess incidents when they occur and to proceed with legal action when appropriate.”
Alliance Defense Fund lawyers first revealed the existence of the meetings between Obama Justice Department officials and abortion lobbyists last year; although they were able to attend the meetings, the conservative lawyers expressed concern that no one in the pro-life community had been invited to the unpublicized events.
The “resource guide” administered at the meetings, said ADF attorney Matthew Bowman, was “not only completely one-sided, it adopts the bias against free speech that the abortion movement has been trying to promote for years.”
The heightened aggression from federal lawyers hasn’t escaped the notice of the pro-life community.
Local pro-lifers were outraged in July when the Obama administration sued an elderly pro-life veteran, whom officials accused of blocking a woman’s entrance to D.C.‘s Planned Parenthood clinic. Justice officials are demanding that Dick Retta be fined $10,000 and pay an additional $15,000 to three clinic-bound women.
While the official complaint calls Retta “among the most vocal and aggressive anti-abortion protestors outside the Clinic,” other pro-life witnesses say that Retta is never aggressive towards women. Retta himself denies that he ever blocked the clinic entrance.
“We don’t block women from coming in. That’s not our policy. I teach it. I teach what I’m doing… and I say one thing: never block the women from going in. Never,” he told NPR.
Meanwhile, incidents of violence against pro-life witnesses themselves receive less federal attention. Retta said that he himself has been pushed around by clinic escorts and even attacked with pepper spray.