Photographers Discuss Manhandling of Women at John Kerry Abortion Event

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 28, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Photographers Discuss Manhandling of Women at John Kerry Abortion Event

by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 28, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Two photographers who attended a pro-abortion rally on Friday sponsored by the campaign of presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry discussed the event with A group of college women were accosted and then dragged away from the event after they led pro-life cheers.

The photographers say abortion advocates tried to prevent them from taking many pictures.

As reported in an exclusive interview on Tuesday (see, Suanne Edmiston and friends from George Washington University found themselves in the middle of a group of aggressive young women clad in t-shirts from NARAL and Planned Parenthood.

The abortion advocates linked arms and surrounded the pro-life students, eventually dragging three away from the event.

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

Bill, a pro-choice marketing manager who writes for the INDC Journal, witnessed the incident and told he was surprised that the pro-life students were not simply asked to leave and peacefully escorted out.

"What were most likely NARAL representatives linked arms and formed a human chain around" the women, Bill said. "There were points when they were dragging [the women] and there was a massive amount of people stumbling towards the exit."

Bill, who lives and works in the Washington area, took pictures of the incident and said abortion advocates tried to keep him from doing that.

"I was following the surge along, trying to snap pictures on a failing battery, when I felt a push and saw a hand in my face," Bill writes in an account of what happened. "[One abortion advocate] began blocking me and shouting, ‘You can’t take pictures of that!’"

Bill told that uniformed police, including secret service agents, were uninvolved in what happened. They neither helped the abortion advocates remove the women nor did they prevent them from doing so.

"It’s of course understandable that these people had to be removed, but I’d be curious to know the legality involved with the crowd forcibly removing them," Bill wrote. "I was surprised that they weren’t asked to leave by professional security personnel."

The answer, Bill explains, may be found in what he saw later: "I spied one of the secret service dudes on the perimeter chuckling about the hubbub."

Meanwhile, Martin Leuders, a D.C.-based freelance photographer, also witnessed the incident, and, in an interview with, confirmed the account of what happened.

At the time the scuffle began and the women found themselves dragged away by abortion supporters, Martin wasn’t close to the action. As he moved in to begin taking pictures, rally participants tried to stop him. Before he could grab a shot, one person with a pro-abortion sign hit him on the head and he began bleeding.

"They assumed I was trying to get [pictures] for propaganda purposes," Leuders told

As the students were marched away, Leuders said Senator Kerry paused briefly "and awkwardly" to look in their direction. He then continued on with his speech.

Pro-life groups are disturbed by the accounts of what happened to the women.

"Violence has no place in the feminist movement," Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, told "Not violence against our own bodies, our own children — or each other. Feminism is about equality. If these allegations are true, the perpetrators need equal treatment under the law."

In one of the few photos taken of the dragging, a pro-life GWU student (to the right of the middle red sign) isabout to be dragged away by abortion advocates (pink shirt, orange shirt, white shirt in foreground and white shirt on right with clasped hands).

Abortion advocates (pigtail hair in center and orange shirt center right) link arms to drag the GWU students away from the Kerry rally.

Abortion advocates (orange shirt on left, pink shirt, white shirt foreground, orange shirt right) continue dragging pro-life students (not pictured) from rally.

Photographer prevented from taking picture as abortion advocate (right) shourts at students.

(All photos courtesy Bill at INDC Journal.)