We all know we should “turn the other cheek.” Few of us ever do. That’s why the reaction of one pro-life teenager to a woman who punched her in the face outside an abortion clinic is extraordinary.
On Monday, Students for Life of America published a video of 15-year-old Purity Thomas recalling how a woman punched her as she stood holding a pro-life sign outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. While conservative media have thoroughly covered the Dec. 2 incident, the liberal media – who claim to champion women’s rights – have remained largely silent.
In the new video, Purity, president of the Roanoke, VA, Students for Life chapter, said she joined three Liberty University students in front of the Roanoke Planned Parenthood to counsel women walking in. Video below.
While she was there, she watched one woman drive into Planned Parenthood.
“I didn’t think much of her, I just thought she was going to be another woman who didn’t want to talk to us,” Purity remembered.
Even so, one of the students, named Serena, tried to speak with the woman – telling her that the students were praying for her and offering “other resources.” In response, the woman walked towards them “very angry.”
“She was yelling at us, saying she was going to beat us up, and some other language that I won’t use,” Purity said.
The woman then grabbed Serena’s sign, which read, “All people are made in the image of God.” As she backed off, Purity remembered walking towards Serena to defend her and suggested that another student start videotaping.
“That’s when I called out to her,” Purity said. “I said, ‘We’re still praying for you, we still care about you.’”
In response, the woman tried to take Purity’s 40 Days for Life sign, reading “pray to end abortion.” But she didn’t stop there.
“Then she punched me on my left cheek under the eye and I stumbled backward and fell over,” Purity said of the incident captured on camera. Video below.
But Purity revealed that something else that happened after the camera was turned off.
“After the video ended,” she added, “the only thing that I said back to this woman was ‘I love you, and I care about you.’”
The other woman had a different story, according to police who came after Purity’s friends called 911.
“She claimed that I was screaming at her,” Purity said, “and that I grabbed her to pray with her.”
According to urgent care doctors, Purity said she likely suffered a minor concussion.
“Three days later I still have a severe headache and lightheadedness every now and then,” she said. “But other than that, I’m doing pretty good.”
Regardless, Purity plans to continue her work in the pro-life movement.
“This incident will not stop me from sidewalk counseling,” she said. “In fact, I think it encouraged me to do more of sidewalk counseling.”
She also stressed her reasoning to counsel women walking into abortion clinics:
What made me passionate about ending abortion and helping women was definitely seeing the violence of abortion. Not just through graphic images and YouTube videos, but seeing it firsthand on the sidewalk, seeing women going into Planned Parenthood crying, not wanting to have an abortion. And it was that really just encouraged me to help these women and reach out to them because they need to know that they’re not alone.
Immediately following the physical assault, the president of Students for Life, Kristan Hawkins, issued a statement in support of Purity:
This act of violence against a group of peaceful pro-life students who were outside a Planned Parenthood offering love and support to pregnant women serves as a sad reflection on the state of debate today. It’s horrific that a minor expressing love for pregnant women was targeted for violence. But this is not an isolated incident. Across the country we are witnessing a rise in the number of incidents of vandalism and violence against peaceful pro-life speech. Even the American Bar Association is demonizing pro-life speech, trying to block pro-life attorneys from taking a seat on the bench. We pray that the assailant from today’s attack is brought to justice swiftly. But we also pray for the protection of those who volunteer their time to speak for the innocent, preborn infants and their mothers.
Hawkins also penned a Fox News op-ed on the incident.