Monday, 13 September 2010

Law Looks Other Way While Pro-lifers are Attacked

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The right to peaceful protest is one virtually all Westerners hold dear, but, apparently, not when it’s applied to pro-lifers. Apparently, that is, if the systematic abuse of some Austrian pro-life activists is any indication.

The situation involves a notorious Vienna abortionist named Dr. Christian Fiala, who has hired thugs for the purposes of harassing, assaulting, and sexually abusing peaceful pro-life protesters. And despite the fact that these crimes have been caught on videotape — and that the culprits have been committing them for years — authorities have thus far turned a blind eye.’s Kathleen Gilbert reports on the matter, writing:

The most recent videos show two men, who were video-taped in a huddle with the abortionist, poking a pro-lifer with the points of an umbrella, pushing him towards the street, cutting up his rosary, tearing away pro-life fliers, and even stealing his wallet. The videos clearly show one of the attackers kicking the pro-lifer, who cries out in pain, in the leg. In June 2009 the pro-lifer's finger was bloodied after he was attacked with a pair of scissors.

Fiala’s muscle-for-hire has been perpetrating this abuse since at least 2007. As reported in November of that year:

The video shows abortion clinic escorts grabbing the genitals of male pro-life activists, undoing pant zippers, threatening to poke them in the eyes, sexually hugging them, making grotesque faces etc. One clinic escort is seen on the video taking a wooden wedge and simulating sex with a female pro-lifer, pushing the wedge into her genital area.

Then, LifeSite’s Peter J. Smith wrote in 2008:

Video footage from Gloria TV shows Fiala's goons trying to intimidate the demonstrators outside his clinic with an intense form of psychoterror and hatred aping the demonic. The video records the clinic escorts swaying side to side, contorting their faces into snarls, howling like wolves, grunting heavily, uttering screams and wailing moans, chanting fiercely, breaking into hyena-like laughs and heaping other such psychological abuse in an unnatural manner for human beings. (CAUTION: FRIGHTENING OR DISTURBING CONTENT.)

Even more troubling, however, is that these crimes are committed with the tacit approval of the Viennese authorities. It is said that the police look the other way; moreover, despite the ample video evidence, the fact that Fiala has admitted hiring the thugs himself and the turn-the-other-cheek attitude of the protesters (some would say they’re too peaceful, that they should have turned a harasser’s cheek with a right-cross), Vienna’s prosecutor’s office also appears part of the conspiracy of inaction. First it allowed a lawsuit filed by a pro-lifer against the thugs to remain pending for a year, and now that the victim’s attorney has brought the case to the Superior Court of Vienna, the prosecutor has moved to have it dismissed.

This isn’t to say the Austrian government has been completely silent on the matter. But its reaction was not what some might expect: The nation’s parliament, wrote LifeSite, considered “legislation to ban all pro-life activists from the public property outside abortion clinics, even if they are only praying silently.”

This selective targeting of pro-lifers is not unusual. Many nations, and U.S. states and cities, have already enacted “buffer-zone laws,” which prohibit protests within a certain number of feet of abortion mills — but not other types of facilities. This effectively places a limit on pro-life protesters to which other groups are not subject.

As for Fiala, his actions against the pro-lifers are not surprising, as he appears to be a zealous pro-death fundamentalist. He has worked to influence abortion law internationally, and he recently lobbied for legalized abortion with the Polish parliament. Moreover, quite bizarrely, he created what is known as the “Museum of Abortion and Contraception,” which opened in March 2007. Describing in a different piece part of what can be learned in this institution, Peter Smith writes:

“Until about 1900,” Deutsch-Welle reports, “abortions were so dangerous that it was safer for women to carry the child to term and then kill it after it was born.” However, visitors can listen to recordings of abortionists discussing how killing a child before birth was “still a life-threatening procedure” 30 years ago – for the mother, not just the child.

It’s interesting that, while abortion is sold to the public as simply the removal of an “unviable tissue mass,” Fiala’s museum casually refers to it as “killing a child before birth.” It appears that the question of when human life begins is not above everyone’s pay grade.

And it also places Fiala’s heavy-handed tactics in perspective. If you can rationalize away murdering humans inside the womb, assaulting them outside of it must just seem like small potatoes.

Photo: Dr. Christian Fiala at the abortion facility at the national hospital in Salzburg, Austria: AP Images

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