By ARTHUR J. BREW
WASHINGTON, D.C. Representatives of three major pro-life groups met with
Department of Justice officials recently to clarify what actually occurs on both
sides of the door at the nation's abortion mills.
They called for the meeting in response to the government's concern about
alleged violence at the mills. Meeting with Assistant Attorney General Jo Ann
Harris were Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life; Rev. Pat
Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition; and Rev. Flip Benham, director of
operations for Operation Rescue.
Fr. Pavone explained that while the Justice Department is concerned about
illegal violence, the pro-life movement is concerned about both illegal and
legal violence, that is, abortion itself. "Violence is wrong not simply because
it is illegal, but precisely because it violates human dignity," he said., "The
government and our whole society need to address the underlying problem, namely,
that baby-killing is legal in our nation."
The pro-life leaders cited cases showing that violence at abortion mills has
been directed not only at abortion providers, but at pro-lifers as well. They
also insisted that, in the course of enforcing the law, the government should
not infringe on the First Amendment rights of pro-lifers. Fr. Pavone added that
many pro-abortion people call it "violence" when pro-lifers speak out against
abortion. This, he said, is a confusion between real violence and free speech.
The government assured the pro-life leaders that the Justice Department is
committed to upholding the First Amendment rights of pro-lifers, and that
evidence of infringement of such rights should be brought to the department’s
Earlier, Susan Finn, administrator of Priests for Life, testified before a
House Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee which was reviewing the effectiveness of
the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
"The FACE bill is actually hurting women in crisis pregnancies," Finn
explained. "There are thousands of pro-lifers who want to offer resources to
pregnant women walking into abortion clinics. Yet, already across our country,
the FACE bill is intimidating peaceful pro-lifers from offering help to these
women. Many pro-lifers are confused and don't realize that peaceful protest is
"Many prayer groups, rosary vigils, and counselors believe they can no longer
go to the clinics. Pro-abortion advocates and the media are spreading false
reports that if pro-lifers go out to abortion clinics they'll be arrested and
thrown into federal prison. Even people working in crisis pregnancy centers fear
this bill not knowing how the government may interpret it, and enforce it.
"And the women are the ones who suffer," she added, "because they continue to
believe that lying on a table and having their babies dismembered and sucked
from their wombs is the only choice."
Priests for Life reaches 30,000 priests across the country with regular
updates about how to assist women faced with crisis pregnancies.