Pro-Life Women Forcibly Dragged From John Kerry Abortion Rally

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 27, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Women Forcibly Dragged From John Kerry Abortion Rally

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 27, 2004

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Five pro-life college students were forcibly removed from a pro-abortion rally held by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry on Friday. The students were literally dragged off after they began leading a pro-life chant and one woman suffered injuries to her feet as a result.

With leaders of NARAL and Planned Parenthood at his side, Kerry held a rally on Friday to tout his pro-abortion position and Planned Parenthood’s endorsement prior to Sunday’s march for abortion.

Supporters began chanting "What do we want? Choice! When do we want it? Now!"

The next time through the chant, the students, all women from George Washington University, screamed out "Life!"

Suanne Edmiston, a sophomore at George Washington University, was one of the pro-life students who attended. "We didn’t plan on shouting them down," she told LifeNews.com in an exclusive interview.

According to Edmiston, after the chants, a group of young adults with NARAL t-shirts surrounded the women.

"All of a sudden these NARAL girls appeared out of nowhere," Edmiston. "You guys have to leave right now," the NARAL women told the students.

Edmiston said the students told the abortion advocates they would leave, but wanted a uniformed official to explain why they had to leave a public event and one for which they had obtained tickets from the Kerry campaign.

After seeing the students wouldn’t leave, the NARAL women told each other to link arms and began to surround the pro-life students.

At the same time, older rally participants were screaming to leave the students alone. Edmiston told LifeNews.com that the older women told the younger abortion activists they could possibly hurt the students and that the students had a right to attend the rally.

But that didn’t stop the young NARAL backers.

They became angry and began to push and shove the pro-life women. One woman told Suanne that her mother should have aborted her.

The NARAL women eventually enveloped three of the students, including Suanne, in a circle and began dragging them away.

Suanne was wearing flip-flops and one of her shoes fell off as she was taken away.

"My foot is dragging on the gravel and they wouldn’t let me get it," Edmiston said.

The abortion advocates dragged her barefoot over a rough gravel surface that caused her foot to bleed so much that Edmiston required medical attention afterwards.

"I have never been manhandled like that before — pushed around, shoved and tossed — it was ridiculous," Edmiston said. "I really felt violated, they had no right to touch me like that. So much for ‘my body, my choice.’"

Both Edmiston and Stan Dai, a GWU political science major and a friend of the women, said Priscilla, another pro-life student, was dragged by the strap of a backpack. The strap began to wrap itself around her neck and she began to choke.

Edmiston told LifeNews.com that neither Kerry campaign staff nor security officials stepped in to stop the activists from dragging the students away from the rally.

"Nobody stopped it, people from [Kerry’s] campaign were just standing around," she said.

After receiving medial assistance from a policeman located outside the audience, Edmiston and her friends filed a report with the Washington police.

However, without the names of the abortion advocates who accosted them, there is nothing the police can do, she told LifeNews.com.

Neither Edmiston nor her friends know the women who assaulted them and it would be up to NARAL or Planned Parenthood, the rally sponsors, to volunteer the names to police, Edmiston said.

Representatives of NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and the Kerry campaign did not return requests for comment.

This is the second time pro-life people have been victimized at a Kerry campaign rally.

At a Kerry event in Tampa, Florida in March, Kerry campaign staffers destroyed the signs of two pro-life women.

In an exclusive LifeNews.com story, Rebecca Porter told LifeNews.com that she and a friend brought signs saying "My abortion hurt me" to the rally. After Kerry saw the signs, campaign staff stepped in moment later and tore them to shreds.

Porter said Kerry was "shocked and surprised" to read the sign.

The Kerry campaign has refused to comment on the matter.

"It was so disheartening," Edmiston said about the incident at the Kerry abortion rally Friday and the attitude of the abortion activists. "They didn’t respect us, they had their agenda and that was it."

(Pictures of Suzanne courtesy of GWU student Rachel Jurado. Kerry abortion rally picture courtesy of Planned Parenthood.)