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Glaring Omissions in Pensacola Clinic Fire Coverage

Posted by Matt Yonke (January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm)
Burned abortion clinic

American Family Planning clinic, Pensacola, FL [Photo by Tony Giberson, Pensacola News Journal]

Early in the morning on New Year’s Day, American Family Planning clinic in Pensacola, Florida caught fire. The fire went undetected for several hours as the night was foggy and passersby didn’t notice the smoke.

The building sustained significant damage and a suspect, Alabama resident Bobby Joe Rogers, has been arrested for starting the blaze. So far, no motive has been reported for the crime.

But even days before there was even a suspect, the media had already jumped to the conclusion that this was an act of anti-abortion violence, which may yet prove to be the case.

This is the clinic where Paul Hill murdered abortionist John Britton in 1994, for which he received the death penalty, so it wasn’t surprising to hear that mentioned as speculations about motive fly. But many in the media aren’t playing fair, and worse, they’re not giving people the whole story.

CBS recounted the previous acts of violence in Pensacola, then they added this poorly researched incendiary comment:

The shooter, Paul Hill, was the first American to be executed for anti-abortion violence. Some considered him a martyr whose actions were justified by the Bible. [Emphasis added]

Some? What some? Find one pro-life leader who will affirm that Paul Hill is a martyr or that his tactics were acceptable. You won’t, because the pro-life community denounced Hill at the time and continues to stridently denounce violence and urges pro-lifers to never resort to it.

Pro-Abortion Movement Responds in High Dudgeon

Of course, the pro-choice blogs are flocking to the moral high ground to denounce pro-lifers and rally the troops as if their “reproductive freedom” were under heavy assault.

On RH Reality Check, Sunsara Taylor also assumes the fire was started by a pro-lifer and calls on women to counter-protest the March for Life in light of this tragedy. She writes in high-flung prose that “this fire will cripple an already-overstretched community of abortion providers to meet the very real and urgent needs of women in western Florida, Alabama and Mississippi for abortion care.”

But who are the members of this “already overstretched community of abortion providers”? Who are these noble souls providing “abortion care” to these needy women? She doesn’t name names, and neither has nearly anyone else in the media.

Abortionist’s Murder Trial Overlooked

That might have something to do with the fact that the owner of the abortion mill, abortionist Steven Brigham, is currently facing murder charges in Maryland in conjunction with abortions committed there.

Stephen Brigham

Abortionist Stephen Brigham

Omitting this fact is abysmal reporting. But that doesn’t even touch the fact that Brigham isn’t nearly the hero and champion of women’s rights that the RH Reality Check piece would have you think.

In fact, he’s a money grubbing hack doctor who has botched abortions, hurt women, had his medical license suspended or revoked in several states, accepted personal goods like jewelry in exchange for abortions and, most recently, run a scheme where he begins a late-term abortion in New Jersey and then makes the woman drive to Maryland to complete it so as to skirt Maryland’s late-term abortion laws.

In the pro-life movement, we denounce people who use violence. Pro-choicers have, by necessity, a sort of honor among thieves since criminal activity and the abortion industry go hand in hand.

In dozens of articles I’ve read over the last few days I’ve found two passing references to the murder trial and absolutely zero references to Brigham’s dicey past. There’s been no focus on the violence he’s done to women, just smears against pro-lifers on the basis of speculation. Reporting the full story would shine a negative light on abortion, just like the Gosnell scandal did, and the media is in no rush to do that.

Prove Pro-Lifers Are Peaceful

Pro-life rosary at planned parenthood

Pro-life rosary at Planned Parenthood in Aurora, IL [Photo by Sam Scheidler]

So what should our response to these baseless allegations and unprofessional reporting be? Regardless of the arsonist’s motives, let’s show them how wrong they are by hitting the streets and showing them the true face of the pro-life movement.

Get out to your local abortion clinic to pray or sidewalk counsel. Start a regular protest with your friends or church group. Find out what other activities are going on at your clinic and join in.

There’s nothing like real live pro-lifers on the streets, putting our commitment in action to show the world that, even if the occasional misguided person resorts to violence to fight abortion, the movement as a whole is joyful, positive and peaceful.

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3 Responses to “Glaring Omissions in Pensacola Clinic Fire Coverage”

Note: Visitor comments do not necessarily reflect the views of the Pro-Life Action League.

  1. Al says:

    “Find one pro-life leader who will affirm that Paul Hill is a martyr or that his tactics were acceptable.”
    The blurb didn’t include the “leader” qualification.

    Paul Hill acted pursuant to Florida Law 776.012, 776.031 and was under the protection of 776.032.

    The outlawing of human beings until they are born is a violation of Florida Constitution Article I, sections 9 & 10 and US Constitution Article I, section 10, clause 1; Amendments 5 & 14.

    Restricting the definition of “person” so as to deny any human being the protection of the law/due process of law is a bill of attainder, prohibited by Fla. Const. Art. I, sec. 10.
    In 1857, the US Supreme Court removed Blacks of African origin whose ancestors were brought to America as slaves from the definition of “person.” No slave state had ever gone this far. The slave states in 1787 tried to have slaves and free Blacks counted as citizens. The non-slave states opposed it, not wanting them counted as citizens at all. The 3/5 Compromise was the result. Slaves were denied their equal share of representation in Congress and their status as citizens. Being a slave does not mean that one is not a citizen. Children were, and are, slaves as they do not have liberty but are held in custody by their parent(s) or guardian(s) until emancipation. Children are denied the vote until they are 18. Women were not granted the privilege of voting in federal elections until 1920. Yet nativeborn and naturalized women and children were always counted as citizens. Women also did not have all the liberties of men. Nevertheless they were always counted as citizens.

    The Nazi parliament and courts took Jews, Slavs and Gypsies (all non-“Aryans”) out of the protection of the law; made them “nonpersons,” “Untermenschen” (sub-humans).

    Judge Frank Bell denied Paul Hill a fair trial. He was even brash enough to explain why in court. He said that if he allowed Hill to present his defense that it would result in anarchy in the streets. “Anarchy” in the streets is the Sheriff’s business, not the courts’.

    Judge Frank Bell also denied Paul Hill to be represented at his own expense by the two Florida licensed attorneys he wanted to represent him in his case and instead told Paul he had to take government appointed public defenders or represent himself. Paul Hill was denied due process. Hence, for these two reasons, Paul Hill sat mute through his trial. He spoke only a few times when asked questions, and then gave his final statement.

    Paul Hill used force in order to defend helpless preborn babies from a serial murderer, abortionist John Britton. It has long been established in law, not to mention Holy Scripture, that it is legitimate to use force in order to defend other innocent persons from bodily harm and death. Therefore, this idea that the use of force or violence on behalf of the preborn is “unthinkable” or “wrong” is nonsense. However, it is legitimate to question whether Paul used the proper amount of force or too much. But we will never know how a jury would decide on that question because Paul Hill was never permitted a fair trial.

    Paul was not allowed to discuss “why” he shot the abortionist at his trial. He was not allowed to discuss his intent. Judge Frank Bell denied his right to do so. This would be like telling someone who was ticketed for speeding that they could not tell the jury they sped because they were rushing their sick and dying child to the hospital. This is unprecedented in American jurisprudence.

    In civil cases, such as the Dred Scott case, a person has been denied the right to defend himself, but Scott’s life was not in the balance. It was a civil proceeding to determine his status as a person. Citizenship was not an issue. Scott was counted as a citizen in the census. Noncitizens are not counted in the census. But that is immaterial. A foreigner, whether in the country legally (a guest) or not, has a right to due process of law. Even enemy troops, captured and tried for war crimes, have a right to due process of (martial) law.
    The court, though, went beyond that and decreed that the Black man whose ancestors were brought to America as slaves had no access to the courts any more than a mule or dog (which can have advocates represent them). Scott and all other Blacks, slave or free, were therefore less than dogs or rats. They were to be henceforth treated as no more than inanimate objects, rocks, sticks or dirt. State laws extending protection to Blacks were in 1857 tossed out by Taney and the other justices much as was in 1973 done by Blackmun and the majority of the justices in regard to the Unborn.

    Paul Hill was treated much as the Unborn, denied due process, denied an advocate to defend himself (the two bumps-on-a-log public defenders did nothing of substance), in all essentials denied his day in court.

    Then others, claiming to be opposed to abortion, but fearing that their organizations and their “Cause” might have to rally their forces against the devil and his minions, denounced Hill more vehemently than the pro-death people.
    John Britton’s son pled for Hill’s life. I stood to the left of Patricia Ireland as she pled for his life: NOW was (and is) opposed to the death penalty (except for innocent Unborn children) in all circumstances.

    Never before has a man who is on trial for his life been denied the right to explain why he did what he did. Some will refuse, but never before, as far as I have found, has a court done this since American independence. This was common in “star chamber” trials and is now being done in “enemy combatant” cases. Was judge Bell’s denial of due process of law to Paul Hill a starting point for further depredations of American constitutional protections? Will Christians be declared not to be “persons”? Time will tell.

    January 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm
  2. Shirley Marcotte says:

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    March 21, 2012 at 6:15 am
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    July 7, 2012 at 4:01 am

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