A pro-abortion activist who sent death threats to a number of pro-life leaders has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.
Theodore Shulman, 51, threatened pro-life Princeton University professor Robert George and Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life. He was arrested in February 2011 and has been held without bail ever since.
The threats against the pro-life advocates, made on the web site of a conservative magazine, said Pavone and George would be killed if the killer of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller was acquitted.
In January 2010, as the trial of Scott Roeder, a man accused of killing abortionist George Tiller, was under way, Shulman posted a comment on the Catholic news site First Things, threatening that “if Roeder is acquitted, someone will respond by killing” Father Pavone and Mr. George.
Father Pavone stated, “I have already publicly forgiven Mr. Shulman and pray for him every day. I also renew, with my friend Bill Baird, known as the Father of the Pro-Choice movement, the joint statement we made years ago rejecting hatred and violence in word and deed between those on opposite sides of the abortion issue.”
At the time Shulman pleaded guilty, Pavone told LifeNews: “I was informed today that Theodore Shulman pleaded guilty to the charges of threatening pro-life leaders, myself included. I hope that his acceptance of personal responsibility for what he did, and his readiness to serve jail time for it, is for him the beginning of a road of conversion and repentance that will reach even to the point of renouncing his position in favor of legal abortion. Violence against me and other leaders is wrong for the same reason that violence against children in the womb is wrong. Both must be rejected.”
“I’m grateful to the detectives and other law enforcement personnel who have worked with me and Priests for Life throughout this case to gather and track the threats that I have received. The NYPD, the FBI, the Joint Terrorist Task Force, and the Department of Justice have done an exemplary and professional job,” he continued.
Pavone added, “From the point of view of my work as a pro-life leader, I also take this opportunity to point out that violence and threats of violence against pro-life activists are far more common, yet far less visible in the media, than violence and threats of violence against abortionists and abortion supporters. In fact, the latter have used a handful of violent acts by people disconnected from the pro-life movement to try to tar the reputation of the entire movement, and those tactics should have no more place in the public debate over abortion than should violence itself.”
Pavone told LifeNews he offers Shulman his “prayers and personal forgiveness” and said he maintains close relationships with pro-abortion activists in order to show them the goodness of pro-life people and, ultimately, win their hearts and minds for the pro-life perspective.
“Civil debate is possible; people who disagree deeply on fundamental issues can still respect one another. My own friendship with abortion-rights pioneer Bill Baird, and the frequent pleas we have made together over the years for mutual respect among pro-life advocates and abortion-rights advocates demonstrate the path we can follow as a society. Ultimately, ‘respect for life’ means respect for the unborn and the born, for those who agree with us and those who don’t,” he said.
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Officials with the pro-life group Operation Rescue and the Life Legal Defense Fund have been on the receiving end of Shulman’s threats as well.
In addition to the two victims listed in the federal complaint against Shulman when he was arrested, George and Pavone, Operation Rescue’s two full-time staffers, Troy Newman and Cheryl Sullenger, as well as pro-life blogger Jill Stanek have been targets of the pro-abortion activist’s threats. Shulman hounded Operation Rescue’s Sullenger, in particular, over a two year time-span as he ran a pro-abortion blog site called Operation Counterstrike that Sullenger said “fomented hatred and attempted to encourage ‘pro-choice’ supporters to murder pro-lifer activists.”
“This is a huge relief to us that Ted Shulman is behind bars where he belongs,” said Sullenger in a statement to LifeNews at the time of his arrest.
Bryan Kemper, the founder of Stand True, the pro-life group that sponsors the red tape day for students to stand up in silent solidarity for unborn children at their schools, also reportedly received death threats from Shulman.
Meanwhile, in 2009, Shulman left a threatening voice mail message with LLDF Legal Director, Catherine Short.