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.
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 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
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.
LifeNews Note: Matt Yonke writes for the Pro-Life Action League.