Man Arrested for Threatening to Kill Pro-Life Advocates Outside Abortion Clinic

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 24, 2017   |   1:30PM   |   St. Petersburg, FL

Police in Florida arrested a man after he allegedly threatened to kill a pro-life sidewalk counselor outside a St. Petersburg abortion clinic.

WFLA News reports police arrested Bradley J. Palmer, 18, of St. Petersburg, and charged him with felony aggravated assault.

Police said the incident occurred on March 11 outside an abortion clinic on Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida. According to court records, Palmer was headed into the abortion clinic with his girlfriend when two pro-lifers began talking to them about alternatives to abortion and offering them pro-life pamphlets.

Palmer allegedly began swearing at the pro-lifers and then threatened to kill one of them, according to police.

Here’s more from the report:

According to investigators, Palmer then opened his trunk and showed what the victims thought was a rifle.

One of the victims called police, who responded to the scene and searched Palmer’s trunk. The officer says he found an air rifle that looked like a shotgun at first.

Palmer later told authorities that he threatened to fight the pro-lifer but did not threaten to kill him, according to court records.

A similar incident occurred last month in Ventura, California when a man, Brandon Beechum, 30, allegedly threatened to kill a pro-lifer with a knife outside of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic.

Police said Beechum was taking a female companion to the Planned Parenthood on Feb. 22 when he allegedly threatened to kill one of the pro-lifers, The Ventura County Star reports. Police arrested Beechum and charged him with criminal threats and brandishing a knife. No one was injured in the incident, according to police.

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LifeNews has reported a number of violent threats and attacks against pro-lifers in the past few years.

In early February, violent threats against a California pro-life leader prompted him to cancel a pro-life rally in Gilroy, LifeNews reported. Brian Cunningham, a retired attorney, said he filed a complaint with the local police department after receiving the threats online.

In January, a pro-life Texas state lawmaker and his family were put under state protection after receiving multiple death threats related to his bill to ban abortions, the Dallas News reported.

In late 2015, a Missouri pro-life lawmaker also received a death threat while he led an investigation into the abortion chain Planned Parenthood.

Violence also has been directed toward pro-life organizations’ buildings and property. In November, the FBI began investigating whether a hate crime occurred when a suspected arson set fire to a pro-life pregnancy center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In December, a Christian pro-life organization in Australia was damaged by an explosion in what pro-lifers believe was a “targeted attack,” the BBC reports. Australian Capital Territory Police said a 35-year-old man parked a van filled with bottles of gas right outside the Australia Christian Lobby headquarters in Canberra and lit them, causing an explosion that damaged the building, ABC Australia reports.

Other times the violence has been directed toward pro-lifers themselves. In one incident, an Ohio pro-life group caught on film someone assaulting its volunteers in May 2016. The video showed an angry man yelling at a group of young pro-lifers and then grabbing one pro-lifer’s camera.

In January 2016, pro-life sidewalk counselors in Arizona also were targeted by a man and his teenage children in a drive-by incident where they used squirt guns to spray the pro-lifers with an unknown substance. Police later filed charges against the man and his teenage children, including disorderly conduct and assault.

In 2014, a pro-abortion feminist studies professor at the University of California Santa Barbara attacked a young pro-life activist, stealing and destroying her sign and encouraging a group of students to be violent, LifeNews reported. The professor later was fined and sentenced to three years probation and anger management.