Guest Post by Pro-life Leader Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life
When Nellie Gray founded the March for Life in 1974, she thought one big demonstration against the unjust and tragic Roe v. Wade decision the previous year would be enough to halt legal abortion in the U.S.
History has shown her optimism was unfounded, but the bad jurisprudence imposed on our nation by those seven justices was finally repealed in 2022.
And yet the March continues, as it must.
The current occupant of the White House says his first priority if re-elected would be to re-establish Roe. Our vice president is about to embark on a nationwide tour to talk about how good it is for all Americans to have more killing of the youngest children. These are reasons enough to march.
But there’s another purpose drawing pro-lifers to DC next week for the Jan. 19 march: The federal government, its agencies, and its processes have become weaponized, in true Leninist fashion, against its own citizens. (“Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime.”)
And pro-life people have become a special target. Consider these recent examples.
- Mark Houck had a minor skirmish with a volunteer outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood in 2021. Local police did not bring charges, but a year later, Biden’s Justice Department did. At 6:45 a.m. on Sept. 23, 2022, the FBI showed up in full force outside Houck’s rural Pennsylvania home. Here’s how Houck described the scene to Catholic News Agency:
“… At least 10, 15 marked and unmarked units right in front of me. Surrounding the side of my house, I have 100 yards to the street, cars lined all the way up to the street, long guns pointed at me, heavily armored vests, ballistic helmets, ballistic shields, a battering ram.” At least five federal agents on his porch with “M-16s pointed at me and now my wife as she entered the opening of the door.”
Houck was charged with violating the 1994 FACE Act – Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances – and faced 11 years in prison. But he is back on the sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood after being acquitted at trial in January 2023. He’s also suing the federal government, and running for Congress. But his arrest so close to the midterm elections was clearly meant to send a message to Biden’s abortion-loving supporters that pro-lifers would no longer be tolerated.
- In three federal trials last year, nine pro-life activists were convicted of violating the FACE Act by illegally blocking an abortion business in Washington, D.C. in October 2020. All nine have been incarcerated since their convictions and, due to additional claims that they are part of a conspiracy, face up to 11 years in prison and fines of $350,000 when sentenced at a yet-to-be-announced date. The oldest inmate is 75-year-old Paulette Harlow of Massachusetts.
The Justice Department press release announcing the guilty verdicts for the first five defendants outlined how 14 federal agencies were involved in bringing to justice these peaceful pro-lifers.
The irony, of course, is that the only violence committed that day was against the children in the womb who were killed by abortion.
Since the May 2022 leak of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe, more than 200 pro-life organizations and offices have been vandalized but only a handful of arrests have been made. Meanwhile, a young woman in Wyoming convicted of setting fire to an under-construction abortion business in Casper is serving five years in prison and must pay $300,000 while we wait to learn the sentence for a Wisconsin man who firebombed a building housing the pro-life Wisconsin Family Action. I’m willing to bet money his prison sentence will be much more lenient.
We can be sure more pro-lifers will be targeted if abortion-extremist-in-chief Joe Biden is returned to the White House so we have but one recourse: We must vote him out of office, and oust every other pro-abortion politician on every level of government.
Until then, we march, for life and for liberty. A government that turns against half of its people is not what our Founders envisioned.
On Friday, January 19th, the morning of the annual March for Life in Washington, I’ll be privileged to present to Mark Houck the National Pro-Life Recognition Award at the National Prayer Service in Constitution Hall. Another honoree, Sister Deirdre Byrne, POSC, will accept an award on behalf of the nine rescuers currently in prison. All are welcome.