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Police, Abortion, and the Double Standard.

Pro choice activists and abortion supporters are outraged over the presence of two off-duty cops at a peaceful (albeit, probably, annoying) prolife demonstration. The complaint boils down to the idea that cops are supposed to protect abortionists and prochoicers, not fraternize with those disreputable abortion foes.

This being the United States, I had thought that off-duty cops might perhaps have the same free-speech rights of other citizens. But it seems the prochoice movement has other ideas about what constitutes proper behavior from police officers. Let's look at a few examples of cop behavior that is ignored or condoned by the mainstream media and the prochoice movement.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On March 11, 1989, rescuers were piled onto buses with tinted windows. There, out of sight of the public, they were beaten by the police. 120 rescuers were refused food for 33 hours under the pretense that they might "start a riot," even though the Salvation Army offered repeatedly to feed them. Several diabetic and hypoglycemic rescuers had to be hospitalized. All religious items belonging to rescuers were taken, destroyed in front of them, and thrown in the trash.

The prolife women were targeted for special treatment once they got to the police station. They were kicked, beaten, and dragged around by their hair and breasts. Some male officers stripped off the women's shirts and bras, and fondled their breasts in full view of cheering male prisoners. Police punched women in the breasts and threatened to rape and sodomize them. Doctor's reports issued after their release state that the women were "obviously and violently beaten."

West Hartford, Connecticut

In March of 1989, police removed their badges before approaching the prolifers. They grabbed rescuers and dragged them on their faces and by their hair for distances of 100 to 150 feet, breaking at least five bones. Police also hoisted rescuer's full body weight on crossed nightsticks, purposely inflicting extreme pain and in some cases dislocating the prolifers' shoulders. When rescuers could not control themselves and screamed in agony, the police laughed.

All injured persons, including those with broken bones, were denied medical treatment for 32 hours. Many rescuers were thrown into cold cells, and the air conditioning was turned on full blast to chill them. They were not given blankets for two days.

Father Norman Weslin was severely beaten and then thrown into a section of the Hartford Correctional Community Center which was dominated by homosexuals who threatened to sodomize him as soon as he fell asleep.

After this savagery, the West Hartford Town Council on June 27 unanimously passed a resolution praising the police force for "... its professional and sensitive handling of these difficult situations."

Sacramento, California

In July 1989, rescuers at the Feminist Women's Health Center were maced by police, despite the fact that they remained totally passive and nonthreatening. Two newborn babies in the arms of bystanders also were maced.

Los Angeles, California

In 1989, Norma McCorvey watched from the roof of a nearby building as prolifers were dragged away by police. McCorvey observed, "with each passing rescuer, the protesters were being treated worse and worse, like sacks of dirt. If a pile of horse manure stood in the path of a rescure being dragged away, the police never bothered to divert their angle..." The prolifers were jerked about, thrown, and dropped. When McCorvey commented to her friend, prochoice activist Gloria Allred, about the how the prolifers would have to take a bath before going to jail, Allred told her that the protesters wouldn't be given an opportunity to bathe. "I was sick to my stomach," McCorvey recalled. "All of a sudden, this wasn't so funny.

Atlanta, Georgia

The brutality against Atlanta prolifers is unusual in that some of it was actually televised. Prolifers were kicked, punched, hit and dragged to arrest for protesting abortion at the city's major abortion clinics in early October of 1988.

One prolifer, Pastor Doyle Clark, passed out when a police officer jammed his thumbs into Clark's ears. Clark was so brutalized while in prison that he required hospitalization, and almost died.

One possible explanation for the media blackout on police brutality against prolifers is the treatment many in the media faced while covering the events. One journalist covering the Atlanta rescue, Al J. Briganti of CBS News, said he and his crew were told by police, "You can shoot in this direction (toward the clinic) and we won't arrest you. Shoot in the other direction (where rescuers would be arrested) and we will arrest you." Given the brutality being inflicted on the non-resisting prolifers, one can readily understand the journalists' reluctance to risk being arrested themselves.


When on-duty cops brutalize prolifers, their acts are met with a deafening silence. But let two off-duty cops show up at a prolife picket, and abortion advocates are suddenly frightened and outraged at this percieved violation of all that is good and right.

Maybe the real issue is that at some level, they wonder if what they've applauded when inflicted on prolifers will come back home to roost.

Sources: Pro-Life Activists' Encyclopedia
Atlanta: Operation Rescue
Norma McCorvey, Won By Love

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