What would it be like to go to work in the morning and find a death threat sprayed over the facade of your office? What would it be like to know that a facility like yours was recently bombed near Buffalo, New York? Would you keep showing up? Would you keep putting yourself in danger?
Maybe you could if you knew you were saving vulnerable lives and helping vulnerable women and girls daily. Perhaps you could if you were very brave.
These are the tough questions facing the volunteers and staff of a South Florida maternity care center where I volunteer. It was recently vandalized with sprayed threats. Like other maternity care centers, our facility helps pregnant women and under-resourced families. Our customers are already struggling to make ends meet. Unlike nearby Planned Parenthood, our center offers real choice. While Planned Parenthood provides exactly one solution for parents in this situation: abortion and cash up front, please! – our center provides material supplies, parental education, assistance with access to obstetric care, ultrasounds, and referrals to adoption for those who do not feel they are willing to parent. All free, of course. And the moms who do choose to have an abortion are always welcomed with open arms for post-abortion grief counseling when and if they need it.
These works of mercy have angered hate groups like the one that claimed responsibility for the recent arson at a Wisconsin maternity center. The vandals scribble a variation of the same phrase on every site: “If abortions aren’t safe, then neither are you.” The group’s name – Jane’s Revenge – was painted on the wall of our facility. Their communiqué, published by journalist Robert Evans, reads in part: “We have run out of patience and mercy … we [shall] employ increasingly extreme tactics to maintain freedom over our bodies.” These are the words used by ideologues and extremists who are willing to use violence to cleanse the world of those who disagree with them.
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Since the leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson case, the furor of left-wing abortion proponents has reached a fever pitch. The Department of Homeland Security reported an increase in violent threats against incumbent judges and the Supreme Court building. Also immediately targeted by violence were those who take to heart a central tenet of their faith—namely, that all humans are made in God’s image and deserve our respect and protection. In particular, those who believe the vulnerable and innocent unborn child must be counted among those whose lives matter. Somehow that has made them the far-left target, and we see the results across the country in vandalism, destruction, arson, damage to sacred objects, and anti-Catholic language sprayed on places of worship.
And it wasn’t long before extremists turned their wrath on maternity care centers, the compassionate outreach arm of the pro-life movement that embraces vulnerable mothers and families. Arson in Wisconsin, damage in the District of Columbia, firebombing in Buffalo, and vandalism threatening violence here in Hollywood, Florida, are just a few examples of this terrorism.
These acts must be prosecuted as vigorously as any other act of violence, including those committed against abortion facilities in the past. Violence is contagious and, once unleashed, can grow exponentially. That is one of the reasons why no one should tolerate it.
This is a scary time for maternity center staff and volunteers. But those who have the most to lose are our customers: the working poor, many immigrants without legal status, who long to welcome their beloved children into life, but are beset by difficulties on all sides. In a maternity care center, their desire is taken seriously and addressed. Our volunteers move heaven and earth every day to see that the poor and marginalized can make room for a new son or daughter in the same joyful way that wealthy and middle-class couples do. The recent outbreak of violence against these centers is a sign of an increasingly intolerant society and threatens to halt their critical and compassionate work.
LifeNews Note: Grazie Pozo Christie, MD, is a Senior Fellow for The Catholic Association.