Sunday, 29 July 2012

Pro-life Legal Group to FBI: Stop Your “Gestapo Tactics” Against Abortion Protestors

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A pro-life legal foundation is demanding that the Federal Bureau of Investigation cease its “Gestapo tactics” against peaceful pro-life protestors and its “witch hunt of anyone who is openly critical of the Obama administration.” The California-based Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), on behalf of pro-life activist Andy Moore, sent a letter to the FBI threatening to take “immediate legal action” should the bureau persist in its attempts to silence Moore and other pro-lifers.

On July 13 FBI agents appeared at Moore’s Dallas, Texas, home and proceeded to question him for more than an hour despite having no evidence that he had committed a crime. According to Moore’s mother-in-law, pro-life leader Jill Stanek, the agents asked “totally inappropriate questions clearly aimed at intimidating Andy,” including some about his wife, his religion, his reasons for protesting abortion, and other pro-life activists. They questioned him in depth about his relationship with Stanek and her influence on his activism. And they suggested that he’d better watch his step because, as an immigrant who has not yet attained U.S. citizenship, one felony on his record could get him deported. “You wouldn’t want to be apart from your wife and newborn,” Stanek reported they said.

“Your agents’ efforts to intimidate Mr. Moore and chill the exercise of his constitutionally protected free speech rights are deplorable,” wrote the LLDF.

Furthermore, when has it become the business of the government to invade the homes of private citizens and ask him or her questions about their employment, how they met their spouse, who their friends are, where they attend church, why they hold a specific political position, and why they engage in particular activities in the community? In case your agency needs a refresher course in the law they swore under oath to uphold and defend, the United States Constitution protects a person’s freedom of association, freedom of speech, and free exercise of religion.

The agents’ intense interest in Moore’s relationship with Stanek — a “fishing expedition,” as she described it — is quite understandable, as the LLDF observed:

Ms. Stanek is a speaker, blogger and writer who was a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., when she discovered babies were being aborted alive there and left to die on closet shelves without medical care. She later exposed that then state senator Barack Obama opposed legislation that would have required doctors to provide assistance to babies that survive abortion attempts, a position that critics described essentially as infanticide.

The reason for the FBI’s questioning of Moore thus becomes obvious: The “agency, acting at the behest of President Obama, is digging for dirt on Ms. Stanek by threatening her family,” penned the LLDF, adding that it “is committed to exposing your agency’s Gestapo tactics and will take immediate action in federal court if your agents’ unconstitutional actions persist.”

The LLDF further charged that the questioning of Moore was part of a “concerted effort [by the federal government] to systematically violate the free speech rights of ... pro-life advocates.” Indeed, as reported recently, the government has been trying to “gain intelligence on the pro-life movement” and then use that information to harass and even to prosecute pro-life activists under the 1994 Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which prohibits individuals from blocking access to abortion clinics and threatening or committing violence against clinic employees or patients.

“The Obama administration is essentially engaging in a witch hunt,” LLDF Senior Staff Counsel Allison Aranda told Stanek in an email. “From the moment the new administration took office, the [Department of Justice] has been targeting peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors. They have come out guns blazing on several occasions often bringing allegations that could later not be substantiated or in some cases clearly proven to be false.”

In one instance a federal judge, dismissing a lawsuit against a pro-life protestor for lack of evidence, wondered aloud “whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the Government” and the local abortion clinic. This is certainly plausible given that the government has issued a number of recent studies labeling pro-life activists potential domestic terrorists and — even more to the point — that “the FBI set up a training program for police officers who are called to respond to conflicts between abortion businesses and pro-life demonstrators” using a training manual “written by Planned Parenthood and the National Abortion Federation,” according to LLDF’s letter.

Fortunately, LLDF and other like-minded foundations are stepping into the breach to defend peaceful protestors whose only “crime” is standing up for life at a time when the man in charge of federal law enforcement is committed to the culture of death. With so many lives hanging in the balance, let us pray that they succeed.

Photo: AP Images

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