“On August 25, 2010, the FBI and the United States Department of Justice co-sponsored a training seminar with Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and the Feminist Majority Foundation,” Steven Ertelt of Lifesitenews.com reported on September 30.
A pro-life attorney and several pro-life activists were able to attend the program, which took place at the FBI’s Portland headquarters. They obtained a copy of the 84-page document entitled “Resource Guide: Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers" that the DOJ/FBI seminar leaders provided to participants. The “Resource Guide” and the training seminar illustrate the growing network of ties among federal government agencies and the major organizations promoting and providing abortion services. The publication and the seminar also present a troubling picture of the federal government aligning with pro-abortion militants to prosecute and silence their political opponents.
Matthew S. Bowman, legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, a pro-life/pro-family organization, told The New American he finds this “extremely disturbing” in that it indicates the FBI and DOJ are working hand-in-hand with the pro-abortion lobby to squash the constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful political dissent. In a critique of the “Resource Guide,” Bowman writes:
The analyses urging the prosecution of “clinic violence” [define] a large swath of nonviolent, legal, free-speech activity such as picketing under the broad category of “violence.” Abortionist organizations have long lobbied to use the law to silence free speech activities. But in this seminar the FBI and USDOJ included those views in their own training seminar materials. This raises serious concerns about the United States government investigating peaceful, legal free speech activity in efforts that are ostensibly aimed at violence.
Bowman points out that the National Abortion Federation (NAF), Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), and Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) have led ongoing efforts to falsely portray their pro-life opponents as violent criminals and terrorists. One of the chief means used by pro-abortion propagandists to vilify pro-life forces and create the impression that they are a grave threat is the NAF’s “Incidents of Violence and Disruption Against Abortion Providers in the U.S. and Canada,” a statistical report that is frequently cited by the media.
Obama’s DOJ/FBI Adopt Pro-Aborts’ Deceptive Statistics
The NAF’s “Incidents of Violence and Disruption” statistical table is included on page 20 of the DOJ/FBI “Resource Guide.” This is particularly alarming since it places the DOJ/FBI imprimatur on the NAF’s definitions of “violence and disruption,” which include completely legal, non-threatening, First Amendment activities such as prayer and holding pro-life signs outside abortion facilities. Pro-abortion activists and their media allies readily quote the NAF’s claim of “163,744 incidents of violence and disruption” against abortion providers, often with “murder, attempted murder, bombing, and arson” included in the same sentence. The impression given is that pro-lifers are a seething mass of violent criminals who are terrorizing benevolent abortion clinic staff members who heroically provide desperately needed medical services to poor women. However, the NAF statistics quickly fall apart under examination.
Any objective analysis of the NAF statistics will note that they are seriously padded in at least two ways. First of all, the statistics cover a 33-year period (1977-2009), a fact that is frequently omitted in sympathetic media reports, since it would obviously diminish the sense of enormity the NAF’s “Incidents of Violence and Disruption” is intended to convey. Even more important, however, is the NAF’s inclusion of “picketing” in its statistical analysis. It turns out that 148,303 (90.5 percent) of the “incidents” cited by NAF are merely picketing. Even “picketing” is a misnomer in most of these cases, since much of the time the “picketers” may be only one or a few pro-lifers merely praying on the curb or sidewalk. And whereas picketers for labor unions, animal rights groups, environmental organizations, anti-war organizations, communist groups, and other causes frequently engage in violence, the millions of Americans who have engaged in pro-life “picketing” have an exemplary record of conduct. The NAF provides no documentation to show that the picketing it refers to by pro-life people is in any way violent or disruptive.
Another 14,293 incidents (8.7 percent) in the NAF report are listed as “Hate Mail/Harassing Calls.” Again, NAF provides no documentation. What does it consider to be hate mail or a harassing call? That is a very relevant question, since pro-abortion activists have claimed that even Christmas cards sent by pro-lifers to abortionists, or letters by pro-lifers saying they will pray for the abortionist, are a form of “hate mail” and “terrorism.” Still another category of incidents is “Email/Internet Harassment,” which totaled, says NAF, 345 (or 0.2 percent). As in most of the other categories, NAF provides no documentation. In other words, 99.4 percent of the incidents cited by NAF consist of alleged “Picketing,” “Hate Mail/Harassing Calls,” and “Email/Internet Harassment,” which, even if verified, are of a different kind altogether from the criminal violence associated with murder, bombing, and arson. The whole purpose of including them in the NAF report is to pad and inflate the numbers to make a “federal case” out of the supposed violence against abortion providers.
Apart from this obvious padding, there is good reason to question the veracity of the NAF figures, since the abortion movement has been built on fraudulent statistics. Former abortionist Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a co-founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) and a director of the largest abortion clinic in North America, has exposed his own involvement in the use of fraudulent “facts” by NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and other groups to legalize abortion four decades ago.
"We claimed that between five and ten thousand women a year died of botched abortions," Dr. Nathanson said. "The actual figure was closer to 200 or 300, and we also claimed that there were a million illegal abortions a year in the United States and the actual figure was close to 200,000. So, we were guilty of massive deception."
The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) is likewise notorious for grossly exaggerating incidents to inflate their statistics. Matt Bowman notes that pages 18 and 19 of the DOJ/FBI document “summarize an FMF survey discussing ‘intimidation,’ and include the distribution of leaflets labeled ‘Pamphlets Targeting Staff,’ and any ‘noise disturbance.’ These would include leaflets that warn women that specific abortionists have injured or killed patients. This free speech activity constitutes a significant percent of the survey activities labeled ‘intimidation.’”
Matt Bowman told The New American that the Obama administration’s incorporation of the NAF, FMF, and PPFA statistics into official FBI/DOJ documents and seminars coincides with a renewed effort by the federal government to prosecute pro-life activists for peaceful free-speech activities. He particularly notes that Julie Abbate of DOJ, who is listed as a speaker at the Portland seminar on page 66 of the “Resource Guide,” also filed a federal lawsuit in August 2010 against a pro-life advocate solely for leafleting while allegedly, one time, crossing a driveway.
He points also to the 2009 incident in Wisconsin, in which the federal Department of Homeland Security conducted a “threat assessment” on pro-life groups engaged in free-speech activities expressing opposition to the decision to begin offering abortions at the University of Wisconsin hospital. The threat assessment was provided by DHS to local law enforcement in Wisconsin. Following lawsuits from pro-life groups, the DHS finally admitted that the department had been involved in actions in which law enforcement inappropriately engaged in “the collection, retention and dissemination of U.S. person information regarding protest groups which posed no threat to homeland security and… violated [DHS] Guidelines.”
Especially ominous is the naming of prominent pro-life organizations and pro-life leaders in the DOJ/FBI “Resource Guide.” In his analysis of the guide, Bowman notes that on pages 39-41, “the FBI’s document that ostensibly exists to prosecute violence lists multiple pro-life websites even though most of them are 100% nonviolent free speech groups.”
Among the pro-life groups cited in the DOJ/FBI document are:
40 Days for Life
American Center for Law and Justice
American Life League
Center for Bio-Ethical Reform
Concerned Women for America
Human Life International
National Right to Life
Priests for Life
Pro-Life Action League
Rock for Life
Population Research Institute
Christian Broadcasting Network
It would seem that the DOJ/FBI has drawn up a prosecutorial “hit list” at the behest of the pro-abortion forces to which President Obama has been closely aligned for many years. (See: “President Barack Obama's Pro-Abortion Record: A Pro-Life Compilation.”) This is hardly surprising given the record that Attorney General Janet Napolitano has amassed in targeting political dissent for prosecution (see here and here).
President Obama’s close ties to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the nation, are well documented. (See, for instance: “Obama Gives Planned Parenthood Abortion President Frequent White House Access.”) Portions of his speech to Planned Parenthood can be viewed on YouTube here:
Another view of Obama’s appearance before Planned Parenthood and his Q&A session with them, can be seen here:
For a more objective look at the NAF, FMF, and PPFA statistics and charges of pro-life violence, the FBI and DOJ would do well to consult the detailed analysis conducted by the website abortionviolence.com.
The extensive investigation and documentation provided by abortionviolence.com not only debunks much of the deception and disinformation concerning the violence attributed to pro-life groups, but also presents convincing evidence to demonstrate that precisely the opposite is true, that it is pro-abortion activists who are engaged in perpetrating violence. There are many more documented cases of pro-abortion activists engaging in violent actions (homicide, attempted homicide, assault and battery, etc.) than alleged violence by pro-life activists. And these statistics of pro-abortion activist violence do not even include the most horrendous violence of all: the millions of unborn children who have been brutally murdered through legal abortions.
Thumbnail photo at top: AP Images