Monday, 28 March 2011

Vandals Destroy Pro-Life Clinic in NYC

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The flagship branch of Expectant Mother Care, the largest chain of Crisis Pregnancy Centers in New York City, was recently brutally vandalized. CEO Christopher Slattery (pictured, left) told Life News:

"Our main office in the South Bronx was burglarized again. This is the second time this has happened in the past 12 months. They broke into our facility through the second story window, stole over $5,000 worth of equipment, and virtually destroyed the office."

Pictures show property strewn about the office, and wooden planks, ripped from the floor, tossed throughout the center. Slattery continued:

[T]hese heartless criminals shattered windows, stole all of our audio visual equipment, destroyed displays and supplies, tore up the ceiling, doors, and floor. They even broke into our supply closet and stole our Pampers.

The staff in our Bronx office is heartbroken, but they have all pulled together to put together the pieces and try to reopen the office. Each day we are closed puts innocent babies in the wombs of their mothers at risk. We desperately need your help.

Slattery said the small but vibrant pro-life community in New York City has responded to the call for prayers and financial support while pregnancy centers have battled the city to help women as best they can without having to turn people away.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers provide prenatal care, pregnancy testing, sonograms, reproductive options counseling, adoption referrals, and counseling to pregnant women, offering them an alternative to the services of abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. These facilities also offer emotional and spiritual support to those women seeking to keep their babies, as well as material support in the form of diapers, baby clothes, formula, and other supplies.

Expectant Mother Care centers occupy a valuable place in New York City, where recent research indicates that as many as 41 percent of pregnancies end in abortion, a rate which disproportionately affects women of color and the poor. EMC, which operates 10 facilities in low-income communities — usually in close proximity to Planned Parenthood abortion clinics — has served over 110,000 clients since 1985, with over 40,000 women deciding to give birth to their babies rather than have an abortion.

Not An Isolated Incident

Pro-life facilities are no strangers to vandalism and attacks from pro-abortion advocates, many of whom respond with brute violence to either the passage of pro-life legislation or isolated incidents perceived as anti-choice.

In July 2009, another Crisis Pregnancy Center in Eugene, Oregon was destroyed by pro-abortion vandals, who spray-painted the phrases "kill us now," "give us your eggs," and "freedom," as well as a swastika on the center's front windows.

Client services director Pam Walton told the Register-Guard newspaper:

We were kind of caught off guard by it this morning. According to the police, it is targeted. The messages are such that it’s not just artistic expression on a blank surface.

Unfortunately, it sort of points up some misunderstandings some individuals in the community may have. [The vandalism] is not really targeting what we do or what we’re really about.

In late June 2009, an abortion advocate vandalized the national headquarters of the pro-life group Operation Rescue in Wichita, Kansas, attempting to disable the security system. The attack, which came just weeks after the shooting of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller, was seen as a retaliation for Tiller’s death — even though Operation Rescue was not involved in the murder, and openly condemned it. One security camera was stolen, and the damage was estimated at $1,000. Operation Rescue president Troy Newman observed that local police officials were not as cooperative as they could have been:

We can’t help but think that if this attack happened to an abortion clinic, there would be federal marshals patrolling and investigating. The police seemed apathetic. It’s almost as if pro-lifers are second-class citizens.

We are just thankful that no one was injured and that the attacker was interrupted before he could do more damage. We will be increasing our security precautions as a result of this incident. We have a very dedicated staff, and no amount of intimidation will deter us from our work.

New York City's Expectant Mother Care CEO Slattery believes that the latest act of vandalism against one of his facilities also occurred within this broader context of retributive vandalism, as pregnancy centers in the city have come under recent media and governmental scrutiny:

The last five months, we have been fighting for our very lives here in New York City. The bill signed by Mayor Bloomberg last week threatens to put our 12 pregnancy care centers out of business for good. New York is the abortion capital of America, and they are threatening to shut down our centers which have helped save over 40,000 babies during the past 26 years.

Slattery was referring to NYC Council Resolution 371-A, which was passed earlier this month and signed into law by Bloomberg. The result of long-time lobbying efforts by groups such as NARAL Pro Choice New York and Planned Parenthood — which believe that crisis pregnancy centers are deceptive and have long sought to shut them down because they offer an alternative to abortion mills — the passage of the legislation was hailed as a victory by the pro-abortion choice movement.

As previously reported by The New American, the legislation imposes a gag rule on the centers, which are appealing the law in federal court. Slattery reports that he has hired Jay Sekulow and the American Center for Law and Justice: “They are one of the best public interest law firms in the world, and we know the Hand of God will move through their efforts to save our centers.”

Slattery and other NYC pro-life activists see it as no coincidence that the vandalism occurred on the heels of the passage of the gag rule, although police — who have not yet identified any suspects in the burglary and vandalism of the center — believe the attack was perpetrated by drug addicts looking for money, rather than being ideologically-motivated.

Related article: The Myth of Pro-Life Violence

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