STATEN ISLAND ADVANCE
May 17, 2001
Priest has not truly denounced anti-abortion protesters' violence
Re: "Molinari, Oddo Back Island Priest" (April 26, 2001).
I have been criticized for speaking out against the Rev. Frank Pavone and the
activities of Priests for Life (PFL). However, it appears that none of my
critics have bothered to call me, read the report by the Institute for Democracy
Studies on which I based my comments, or even visit the PFL website.
Had they done any of the above, they would have discovered that Pavone openly
encourages acts of criminal trespass against abortion clinics, stating that
"breaking a law of trespass to prevent killing is perfectly justified in this
and other circumstances."
Pavone's frequent claims that he rejects violence against abortion providers
also ring hollow. A glance at the record of violent acts committed against
doctors, nurses, patients and clinics in the last ten years shows that the
anti-abortion movement is the most violent movement in contemporary America.
Hundreds of people have been assaulted, dozens of clinics have been vandalized,
bombed and burned. Seven people have been murdered. Rather than condemn such
acts and the people who commit them, Pavone has made it his mission to embrace
all factions of the anti-abortion movement, acknowledging their contribution to
The PFL website states that the organization is "deeply committed to the
unity of the pro-life movement and to active cooperation among groups ... every
group is important and of critical value to the effort to end abortion "...
we do not believe that disagreements are reasons to stop us from working
Pavone is truly inclusive. PFL's website and newsletters have featured
extremists like Joseph Scheidler (found guilty in 1998 of a "broad range of acts
and threats of physical violence"); Mark Crutcher (author of "Firestorm: A
Guerilla Strategy for a Pro-Life America"), and Father Thomas Carleton (who
signed a statement after the murder of David Gunn proclaiming, "we assert that
if Michael Griffin did in fact kill David Gunn, his use of lethal force was
justifiable provided it was carried out for the purpose of defending the lives
of unborn children").
Pavone, as the national leader of a movement, has a moral obligation to use
his power and influence to stop the violence of the anti-abortion movement.
To those who believe it is their duty to kill doctors to prevent abortions,
Pavone's $50,000 "reward fund" means little. His continued words of
encouragement of extremism mean everything.
State Sen. Eric T. Schneiderman
[The writer represents the 30th Senatorial District (Manhattan-Bronx)
in the New York State Senate.]
Click here for Fr. Pavone's response to the Senator.