SAN FRANCISCO -- An unknown assailant has repeatedly disrupted, harassed and attacked a peaceful, pro-life prayer vigil in San Francisco.
On Thursday, March 14, an 85-year-old pro-life advocate was the victim of a brutal attack outside a San Francisco Planned Parenthood facility. The pro-lifer was participating in a peaceful 40 Days for Life campaign when the assailant stole the victim's banner and viciously beat the victim. The same assailant had assaulted the victim and another man just two days prior.
The elderly man tried to stop the theft of the banner by putting a stick holding the banner into the spokes of the bicycle. The perpetrator shoved the man to the ground and began violently and repeatedly kicking and threatening him.
The San Francisco 40 Days for Life team was victimized by the same man earlier in the week. On Tuesday, the perpetrator threw a sign, table and pro-life literature into the street. He knocked two men to the ground during that incident as well, including the same elderly pro-lifer he attacked again on Thursday.
The attacks were reported to law enforcement, and police officers took statements from the victims. It is not clear whether a formal investigation has been launched. Pro-lifers have not observed any additional law enforcement presence around the Planned Parenthood location since the initial attack.
Apparently, Planned Parenthood has video surveillance of the area where the attacks took place, but it has been initially reported that it is unwilling to release the video.
The attack is the latest in a string of violent assaults during peaceful pro-life vigils at Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities across the nation. The new response to these peaceful vigils by the abortion industry and supporters is, apparently, to use threats and violence as a tool.
Life Legal is representing the elderly victim, who is in fear for his safety.
"The vicious attack against our elderly client is intolerable," said Allison Aranda, Life Legal Senior Counsel and former Prosecutor of the Year. "We will pursue all legal avenues to see that justice is served and that the freedom to speak freely on the public sidewalk without threat of physical violence is protected no matter the message. As a former prosecutor, I trust that the San Francisco District Attorney's office will pursue all legal charges against the perpetrator and bring him to justice."
"We are appalled by this brazen assault against an elderly man who was simply exercising his First Amendment rights on a public sidewalk," said Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. "Life Legal will not sit by and allow the escalation of violence to continue, and we are working to ensure that pro-life advocates are protected and that perpetrators are brought to justice."
40 Days for Life President and CEO Shawn Carney stated, "While the 800,000 volunteers who participate in our peaceful prayer vigils around the world sign a statement of peace and have always been law-abiding, violence from abortion supporters has increased. The gentleman who was attacked will not be deterred nor will other volunteers be deterred from peacefully being a voice for the unborn as many in America advocate for late-term abortion and infanticide. The pro-life movement uses science, medical alternatives, and compassion to change hearts on this crucial issue. Planned Parenthood supporters have resorted to intimidation, insults, and violence. They have a long history of not granting dignity to the unborn, that now apparently applies to 85-year-old volunteers as well."
Matt Britton is General Counsel for 40 Days for Life and a four-term elected prosecutor. Upon learning of the attack, Britton said, "40 Days for Life will always support and defend its vigilant and peaceful prayer volunteers. As a former elected prosecutor, I have reviewed thousands of cases of violence, and anyone who would make such a brutal, vicious assault and robbery of an elderly, peaceful man should end up in the penitentiary where he can do no more harm. It is unconscionable that in the United States of America, law abiding citizens are not free to peacefully express their opinions without the fear of thugs like this. I hope that the great City of San Francisco, which has so many protests of all types, recognizes and protects this basic American principle of Freedom of Speech by investigating, apprehending and punishing this shameful assailant."
About Life Legal Defense Foundation
Life Legal was established in 1989, and is a nonprofit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information about the Life Legal Defense Foundation, visit www.lldf.org.