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May 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life advocates are labeling as “fake news” a report by a pro-abortion organization that alleged a “significant increase in activities aimed at disrupting [abortion] services and intimidating patients and providers.” The pro-life advocates are upset that the report’s “lies” were uncritically picked up and circulated by mainstream media. 

“The Associated Press story and National Abortion Federation (NAF) report are pro-abortion works of pure propaganda aimed only at swaying public opinion since most Americans and all reasonable people are against violence,” pro-life advocate Will Goodman told LifeSiteNews. Goodman noted how disdain for violence is “especially true in the pro-life movement.” 

“The report has dubious statistics offered by unnamed or unrecognized entities in the abortion industry,” Goodman said. “The pro-life movement is well aware that their allegations of ‘harassment and disruption’ are biased rhetoric combined with outright lies.” 

“This dishonesty is certainly deliberate,” he said. It’s “part of their concerted effort to demonize us as sympathetic to violence, and hence, hypocrites.”

The NAF’s  “2017 Violence and Disruption Statistics” report claims, among other things, that “trespassing more than tripled, death threats/threats of harm nearly doubled, and incidents of obstruction rose from 580 in 2016 to more than 1,700 in 2017.” 

“We also continued to see an increase in targeted hate mail/harassing phone calls, and clinic invasions,” the abortion association claims, “and had the first attempted bombing in many years.”

The AP hopped on the NAF bandwagon soon thereafter, reporting the abortion association’s assertion of “a major upsurge in trespassing, obstruction and blockades by anti-abortion activists in 2017.”

The NAF “chronicled a litany of actions that ranged from coordinated trespassing efforts by abortion opponents, repeated brick-throwing at windows of a Cleveland clinic and an attempted bombing in Illinois,” the AP said.

“The protesters are feeling emboldened by the political environment and seeing what they could get away with,” NAF President Vicki Saporta said in the AP article. “They want to make it more difficult to provide care, without going to very extreme forms of violence.”

But pro-life advocates say the stats are highly suspect, crafted and packaged without evidence to falsely implicate pro-lifers. For instance, in the case of the attempted bombing, there’s been no indication of the suspects having any tie to the pro-life movement. Three rural Illinois men charged in March with bombing a Minnesota mosque last year are also suspected of an attempted bombing at the Champaign, Illinois, Women's Health Practice last November.

Part of the motive for the Minnesota Mosque attack was their desire to scare Muslims, one of the suspects told the FBI, according to another AP report – but “the complaint also said nothing about a possible motivation for the (abortion) clinic attack.”

The AP article on NAF’s report also included an incident that occurred this past February, thus not falling into the timeframe of the NAF report. In that case, a Massachusetts man crashed a stolen truck into a New Jersey Planned Parenthood, injuring three people, including a pregnant woman.

“The acts of violence AP reports include three cases of bricks thrown at an Ohio abortion mill’s windows by a cowardly anonymous individual who does not belong to or represent the pro-life movement,” Goodman told LifeSiteNews. “Nor is there any evidence that the man mentioned in the article who stole a vehicle and rammed it into a Planned Parenthood was pro-life or associated with any pro-life organization.” 

“According to police reports, this man acted alone for ‘personal’ reasons and has a long history of criminal behavior unrelated to anything remotely pro-life,” added Goodman. “But it is very convenient and strategic for abortionists to lump such mentally unstable ‘lone wolves’ in with pro-lifers who deplore such crimes.” 

Not from the NAF reporting period – but still convenient

The AP also called the New Jersey truck incident that occurred after NAF’s report period the “first major violent attack on a U.S. abortion clinic since 2015,” then predictably cited the 2015 Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting. The tragic shooting was the act of a mentally unstable man still held as incompetent to stand trial, and though he acted alone in killing three and injuring nine, the abortion lobby has also tried to tie that incident to the pro-life community, which roundly condemned the shooting. 

Speaking of the Illinois suspects, Goodman told LifeSiteNews, “The arrested suspects are not part of the pro-life movement either, but members of an extremist anti-government militia, which has also attacked a mosque and follows an absurd and delusional racist conspiracy theory. Again, these suspects are not members of the pro-life movement in any remote way whatsoever.” 

“In the past, terrible episodes of violence such as these have often been committed by abortion sympathizers in an effort to discredit the pro-life movement,” Goodman noted. 

But the biggest problem with the report, he said, is how it wrongly groups peaceful, non-violent, pro-life rescues along with acts of violence such as bombing or vandalism. 

“Such conflation is completely unjust. But it is deliberate,” he said. “The abortion industry realizes that random acts of violence are rare. Its real fear is a large national non-violent movement, which will shut their abortion mills down forever. To them, non-violence is the real threat. So it is in their absolute interest to link peaceful rescues with bombings, murder and arson.”

Roses, not violence

Goodman took part in two Red Rose Rescues in Michigan in recent months along with Citizens for a Pro-Life Society Director Monica Migliorino Miller. 

Activists counsel women on abortion alternatives during these rescues, either in the abortion waiting room or outside the facility. They offer the moms help and a choice before they go through with the abortion. In these recent rescues, the groups have offered the pregnant mothers a rose to convey their dignity as human beings, denoting the name Red Rose Rescues.

Some pro-life activists have been willing to go to jail for their pro-life conviction to save both unborn children and their mothers, in cases that the NAF report terms as trespassing, obstruction, or so-called “clinic invasion.” 

But the pro-lifers are clear in stating they do not advocate violence.

Miller has been part of the return of the non-violent rescues by U.S. pro-life activists, a movement which had first begun in the 1980s and was later thwarted by federal legislation imposing harsh penalties on those doing rescues.

Miller has been arrested conducting rescues and was quoted in the AP article describing them as an act of nonviolent defense of unborn children who are about to be aborted. 

“I believe that this is just one more of those pro-abortion hysteria pieces that try and portray the killers of the unborn as victims – when they are not!” Miller told LifeSiteNews.   

“There have been very scanty incidents of violence against abortion providers and the centers where the unborn are murdered,” she said, “but even the abortionists admit that incidents of violence have decreased.” 

“What they are concerned about are the incidents of trespassing, and certainly they are referring to the Red Rose Rescues,” she said. “And the [phrase] ‘intimidating patients’ is, of course, their pro-abortion jargon.”  

“We simply enter the clinics and quietly talk to the moms in the waiting room,” Miller explained, and “offer them roses and a chance to change their minds.” 

“They make it sound as if there has been a national wave of these rescues and incidents of trespassing and that so far isn't the case,” she added.  

Miller cited a half-dozen Red Rose Rescues since September of last year. More are planned, she said, “but the article makes it sound as if these rescues and trespassing by pro-lifers was a constant problem for those who kill the unborn and that sadly is not the case.”   

Semantics are also an issue, she said, where abortionists falsely accuse sidewalk counselors of “intimidating patients.”

“When the NAF report states that there were 580 incidents of obstruction in 2016, I have to ask, ‘to what on earth are they even referring?’” said Miller. “Surely pro-lifers did not block the doors to abortion centers 580 times that year – if only they had!”   

Miller questioned whether the abortion lobby counts as obstruction “a sidewalk counselor who happened to slow down the pace of a woman walking towards the door of the clinic.”

The veteran pro-lifer said that trying to prevent the murder of innocent children at abortion clinics through peaceful means is an “act of love.”

“The clinics should be obstructed,” she stated. “The whole killing needs to be obstructed. And I am NOT talking about violence here.” 

“Violence doesn't save babies,” Miller emphasized. “Acts of love [save] babies. And blocking the doors to an abortion clinic with one’s own body to defend the babies and be a witness to the mothers is an act of love.”  

Miller said she has no idea who the NAF refers to in its “litany of complaints,” and further, if there were hundreds of incidents of obstruction and intimidation as they claim, where are the arrests and the police reports for them?  

There might be a few incidents, said Miller, but the NAF is claiming hundreds.

“And notice,” she added, “that the NAF even puts pickets – good, old-fashioned, constitutionally-protected pickets – on their list of violence against clinics.” 

“Their claim that the rescues are motivated by the new political climate of a pro-life friendly presidential administration is hogwash,” Miller said. “Many of us, myself included, have been pondering a resurgence of the pro-life rescue movement for the last ten years. And, that the rescues have taken place during the Trump administration is pure coincidence.”  

“Those who kill the unborn need to take a very close look at themselves,” she said. “They defend the slaughter of the innocent through the full term of pregnancy. So who are the real extremists here? Those who kill the innocent and treat human beings like trash – or those who peacefully, non-violently offer acts of defense for these little ones?” 

They’re 'boldface lying'

Father Stephen Imbarrato, pastoral staff member of Priests for Life and priest of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, NM, has also been arrested taking part in the Red Rose Rescues. 

“I consider the report nothing short of boldface lying, utter dishonesty,” he told LifeSiteNews. “Nothing defined and few incidents described.”

“We did five Red Rose Rescues,” Father Imbarrato said. 

“I am sure those were counted as what? 20+ incidents, described three or four ways?” he asked. “Sure, maybe separate 80 incidents after all is said and done? We know how Planned Parenthood does math!” 

“Most importantly, I personally abhor how the abortion industry tries to hype every incident they subjectively perceive aimed at their facilities as dangerous while ignoring that abortion is nothing less than violent preborn-child killing,” he said. 

“How many acts of violence were perpetrated last year by members of the NAF against preborn babies that could have lived outside their mothers’ wombs in total?” Imbarrato questioned. “Where the babies felt pain? How many women were hospitalized and even died at the hands of NAF members?”

Operation Rescue (OR) documented 90 incidents of ambulances transporting women to hospitals from U.S. abortion facilities in 2017 alone, and the group says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are few states that have abortion complication reporting laws, according to OR, and those that do don’t really check to make sure they are reporting everything, resulting in inaccurate stats put forth by the abortion industry.

Operation Rescue also considers the argument about violence at abortion facilities to be propaganda intended to garner sympathy for a flagging abortion industry.

“The fact is that Red Rose Rescues are peaceful attempts to save babies from the violent death of abortion and to protect moms from the physical and emotional dangers of incurring an abortion,” Imbarrato told LifeSiteNews. 

The rescuers at abortionist Steven Brigham’s facility in Washington D.C. were totally peaceful, he pointed out, and allowed by police to remain in the building for hours counseling women. 

“How many women have died or been wounded in abortion facilities owned or managed by Brigham who has lost his license in 6 states?” he asked. “How about the abortionist in Queens who just pleaded guilty the other day to manslaughter for killing the mother of a baby he aborted?” 

“The fact is that the abortion industry is nervous because they see the potential end of the government-sanctioned funded-and-protected daily mass murder of thousands of pre-borns each day,” said Imbarrato. He listed that such nervousness is caused by “heartbeat bills, HHS proclaiming the scientific reality that life begins at conception, and the DOJ investigating Planned Parenthood and the entire abortion industry.” 

It’s the women and pro-lifers that suffer violence and hostility

Created Equal sent a news bulletin to supporters after the NAF report was released stating the abortion advocates’ “violence” report was fake news.

“The NAF’s report is a sham,” Mark Harrington, president of Created Equal, said. “The real violence occurs when abortionists dismember children at abortion clinics, and when supporters of killing babies act out violently against the defenders of life.” 

“Sadly, this narrative has been repeated by the pro-abortion media over and over until people begin to believe the lies,” he said. “It follows that those who kill babies are violent, not only to babies in the womb, but to those outside the womb.”

What’s more, Harrington recalled for LifeSiteNews, Created Equal has been the object of an ever-increasing wave of pro-abortion violence in the past few years. 

“Every year the abortion cartel comes out with bogus numbers regarding ‘clinic violence,’” he said. “They almost always report an increase as a way of ginning up opposition to pro-life activists and the enacting of unconstitutional censorship zones around abortion centers.” 

Harrington noted that in 45 years, deranged individuals, acting alone, have killed seven abortion providers.

Goodman told LifeSiteNews that those who pursue violence (abortionists) often are frustrated by political environments that are not conforming to their radical and dysfunctional mindset, and there is no evidence whatsoever that a pro-life shift in American politics is causing these few random acts of fringe violence. 

In fact, the opposite is true, he said, and a pro-life political majority will end violence, in particular the grave violence against the unborn and their parents, and counter any criminal acts failing to respect basic human dignity.

“When we end violence in the womb and build a culture of life we can expect other forms of violence will decrease,” Goodman said. “Despite the rhetoric of the abortion lobby, the pro-life movement is the hope for peace in our nation, not its enemy.”