Pro-life Activist Held at Gun Point While Peacefully Protesting Outside Abortion Clinic

Brianna Heldt

Document Publication:

Publication Date: August 16, 2018

This is an excerpt. Read the entire article at

The morning of Saturday, August 11 began like many for Illinois pro-life activist John Ryan.

A regular volunteer with the group Defenders of the Unborn, Ryan was standing peacefully outside of Granite City’s Hope Clinic for Women. “I was offering alternatives to folks that came there to see if I could talk them out of abortions,” he said.

But that’s when things got strange.

John Ryan remembers, “I saw a car circle a couple of times and I saw this young man look at me when he went by each time.”

That man was later identified by police as 27-year-old Kevin Brooks of Springfield, Missouri. 

When Ryan, reportedly holding nothing but baby onesies and “Defenders of the Unborn” cards in his hands, approached the car in an attempt to talk to Brooks outside of the abortion clinic, Brooks allegedly pointed a loaded gun at him.

“He never said a word,” said Ryan. “He had a smirk on his face, he just lifted, I saw the barrel of the gun out the window. He pointed it right at me and just looked at me.”

When Granite City Police arrived, they found a rifle in Kevin Brooks’ car, and arrested and charged him with a felony for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. 

But in spite of the harrowing experience, John Ryan was not deterred in his defense of the unborn. 

After backing away and calling 911, the pro-life activist remained at the clinic for the rest of his shift.

“Not turned away at all, it certainly is unnerving,” Ryan told reporters. “I’ve been threatened before (this is the) first time I had a loaded gun pointed at me. I know what I do, I know the kids I’ve been able to save and that’s the least I can do is show up.”


And in 2012, a man identifying as a “pro-choice terrorist” pled guilty to “one count of transmitting a threat to injure another person by threatening to kill two pro-life advocates.” Those advocates were Father Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life, and Robert George, PhD, of Princeton University. Both men are well-known for their pro-life activism.

Based on a number of additional documented instances of pro-abortion threats of violence, it appears that America is now an unsafe place for those concerned with the protection of unborn life.

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 • Email: