You’re a Christian immigrant to the U.S. with a wife and newborn, but you feel strongly about the pro-life issue and periodically appear at a local abortion business to protest the killing and offer counseling should someone want that advice.
Then one day there’s a knock on your door, and two FBI agents identify themselves and start asking questions: Do you know pro-life protesters who are violent? Do you know pro-life activists who may be violent? To what church or church groups do you belong? What makes you believe in your cause? Why do you protest abortion? Are your friends aggressive or abrasive?
The interview stretches on.
Then they note that you have a new family.
“You wouldn’t want to be apart from your wife and newborn,” they tell you. What about your mother-in-law, a nationally known pro-life activist? “Did you get your activist and pro-life ideas from her? Did she train or teach you?”
Are you intimidated now?
Then they warn that you shouldn’t trespass (even though you didn’t). Asked about the warning and why it was delivered, it gets repeated. And you’re told you cannot threaten violence, such as saying “If you get an abortion, I’ll see something bad happens to you.”
How about now?
That’s the experience of Andy Moore, an activist who has just launched AbortionWiki.org, which aims eventually to be a complete dossier on the abortion industry worldwide.
He’s the son-in-law of pro-life activist Jill Stanek, a speaker, blogger and writer who was a registered nurse at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., when she discovered babies were being aborted alive there and left to die on closet shelves without medical care.
She later exposed that Barack Obama opposed legislation that would have required doctors to provide assistance to babies that survive abortion attempts, a position that critics described essentially as infanticide.
The intimidation concerns the Life Legal Defense Foundation, which has advised Moore to have someone video his protest activities. The group promises to defend him if the need arises.
Allison Aranda, senior staff counsel, charges the Obama administration “is essentially engaging in a witch hunt.”
“From the moment the new administration took office, the DOJ has been targeting peaceful pro-life sidewalk counselors,” she said. “They have come out guns blazing on several occasions, often bringing allegations that could later not be substantiated or in some cases clearly proven to be false.”
Stanek, who wrote about the episode on her website, noted that Aranda has seen the federal government use the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act to attack pro-life counselors. The federal law keeps pro-life counselors away from abortion business front doors.
“The DOJ is using tactics that amount to legal extortion,” Stanek said. “They have filed these frivolous claims against innocent people who don’t have the finances to hire big shot attorneys. The DOJ then kindly offers to settle the case if the counselor simply agrees to stay so many yards away and pay a couple thousand dollar fine.”
Dana Cody, the executive director for Life Legal, told WND that the foundation for such aggressive tactics against innocent pro-life activists comes directly from the top. It was the FBI that set up a training program held several years ago for police who are called to respond to conflicts between abortion businesses and pro-life protesters.
The training manual for that event, she said, was written by Planned Parenthood, the abortion industry’s biggest player in the U.S., and the National Abortion Federation.
When asked why no pro-life perspectives were included, federal officials stonewalled, she said.
These actions are “very chilling,” she told WND, “on private citizens, law-abiding citizens who are engaging in policy making speech in the public forum.
“To make matters worse, why are they asking questions about [Stanek]? Reports show that pro-life people are considered domestic terrorists. Is she on that list? How did they make the connection? That’s the chilling factor.”
Moore told WND that the FBI warned him specifically against obstructing vehicle access to abortion businesses, something he did not do.
“They also warned of threats of violence,” he said. “The example they gave is I could not just walk up to a car and say, ‘If you go ahead and get an abortion, I will make sure something bad happens to you.’”
Moore said the FBI told him there were three red flags in his file. He once used a bullhorn at a protest and was told by police it violated a noise ordinance. He hasn’t used it since. He also was accused by an unidentified person of trespassing, which he denies, and a clinic complained he was too aggressive.
“I’m out there telling the truth,” he told WND. “That might not be desirable to some people.”
Moore said he repeatedly was asked to name names of those who might be “violent or engaging in questionable activities.” But the agents assured him it would “not be snitching.”
Aranda said that when the government “determined that the evidence wasn’t quite what they thought it would be to proceed on a FACE claim against Andy, they turned their intimidating interrogation into a fishing expedition about the personal life of Jill Stanek.”
“Targeted bullying by our government because of an individual’s viewpoint and willingness to share that message in the public square is intolerable,” she said. ” … We will not back down, and we will not be threatened.”
Stanek said it stands to reason “that the Obama administration would be interested in me.”
“This has probably been a long time coming,” she said. “But to reiterate Allison’s point, we will not back down, and we will not be threatened.”
It was only weeks earlier that WND reported Barack Obama’s hand-picked attorney general, Eric Holder, called it quits in a standoff with a pro-life sidewalk counselor in Denver. The agreement to drop a case included having the government paying $120,000 for bringing a claim that the district court judge determined lacked evidence.
And in a Florida case involving Mary Susan Pine, U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp openly speculated that there was a cozy relationship between an abortion clinic and federal prosecutors that could warp justice.
As Ryskamp recently dismissed the abortion clinic access complaint against the woman for lack of evidence, he charged that there appeared to be collusion and that if there had been a little more evidence, he might have taken action.
“It is rather curious that the Department of Justice was able to meet with the [Presidential Women's Center in West Palm Beach, Fla.] staff and police officers the very next day after the alleged violations occurred. It is also curious that the government failed to make any efforts to obtain the identities of the passengers who are the alleged victims in this case – the court finds it hard to believe that the government was completely unaware of the existence of the sign-in sheets and video surveillance system,” he wrote.
The judge said the court “can only wonder whether this action was the product of a concerted effort between the government and the PWC, which began well before the date of the incident at issue, to quell Ms. Pine’s activities rather than to vindicate the rights of those allegedly aggrieved by Ms. Pine’s conduct.”
“If this is the case, the court would be inclined to sanction the government with, at a minimum, an adverse inference. Given the absence of further evidence substantiating the court’s suspicions, the court is not authorized to do so,” the judge wrote.
The judge’s 21-page ruling granting Pine a summary judgment and clearing her of the charges said the entire episode raised questions.
“The court is at a loss as to why the government chose to prosecute this particular case in the first place,” Ryskamp wrote. “The record [is] almost entirely devoid of evidence that Ms. Pine acted with the prohibited motive and intent or that Ms. Pine engaged in any unlawful conduct. The government has failed to create a genuine issue for trial on all three elements of its FACE (Federal Access to Clinic Entrances) claim, and Ms. Pine is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Federal officials sued her under the FACE act, a civil action, after they alleged she talked to occupants in a car while they were going into a parking lot – and may or may not have been going to an abortion business.
The Denver case involved Ken Scott, a pro-life advocate who was targeted by five federal prosecutors for passing out information outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Denver.
But U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer dismissed 10 motions made by federal prosecutors in the case. The federal government decided shortly later to abandon its campaign against Scott.