Violent threats against a California pro-life leader prompted him to cancel a rally to protest the abortion chain Planned Parenthood last week.
The Gilroy Dispatch reports Brian Cunningham began advertising the “Defund Planned Parenthood” event on Facebook earlier this month and quickly started noticing hostile comments on the post.
Cunningham said two of the comments threatened bodily harm, prompting him to cancel the event out of concern for people’s safety. The Gilroy, California event was supposed to be part of a nation-wide protest to call for an end to taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
More than 200 pro-life rallies took place on Saturday across the country, organized by the #ProtestPP Coalition, of which the Pro-Life Action League, Created Equal and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society were the primary co-sponsors, in concert with 40 Days for Life.
Cunningham, a retired attorney, filed a complaint with the local police department, according to the report. He also removed the post from Facebook.
“I am filing a complaint…under California Penal Code sections 422 and 417 against two individuals who have threatened me and others to stop us from exercising our First Amendment Rights,” Cunningham said last week in a letter to acting Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee.
Here’s more from the report:
The worst read, “How about we just castrate you.” A woman identified as Paula Brandon and Paula Johnson Brandon of Watsonville posted it.
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Attempts to reach her were unsuccessful. Among her Facebook “likes” are two anti-President Donald Trump organizations and a cause listed as Enact Universal Health Care for California.
Another post threatened to put his face on a sign, which he considered to be a threat of physical violence, said Cunningham, a 74-year-old grandfather.
That post, by a woman identified as Dawn Pipestem, reads, “We will be there in pink hats to take this war on again!!! And I’m sure your faces will make great picket signs ……. camera ready pro planned parenthood.”
The California pro-life leader said he has been holding peaceful rallies outside of the local Planned Parenthood in Gilroy for four years. He also founded and funds a local non-profit called Keepers Closet that provides clothes to newborns and toddlers, according to the report.
Some of the other pro-life protests on Saturday met with resistance and hostility from abortion activists.
Katie Yoder of the Media Research Center attended the pro-life event in Washington, D.C. She said abortion activists staged a counter protest and tried to block the road and police as they were trying to guard pro-lifers.
— Katie Yoder (@k_yoder) February 11, 2017
Eric Scheidler, one of the national organizers, said the rally was more than just about defunding Planned Parenthood.
“The message of the February 11 national rally isn’t just to demand an end to all federal defunding of Planned Parenthood, which comprises roughly 40% of their annual $1 billion budget,” Scheidler said. “We’re also calling for those funds to be redirected to Federal Qualified Health Centers that provide a far wide spectrum of services to women without killing children through abortion.”
Planned Parenthood does approximately 320,000 abortions every year, according to its own annual reports. It also receives nearly half a billion tax dollars annually.
The new U.S. Congress is working to defund the abortion group. Legislators plan to redirect the tax dollars to federally-qualified community health clinics that offer more comprehensive care but don’t perform abortions.