WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life activists continue to be physically assaulted in the nation’s capital while doubts persist as to the victims’ prospects for receiving equal justice.
The Daily Signal reported that on July 22, pro-life activists Terrisa Bukovinac and Mike Gribbin were praying and sidewalk counseling outside Planned Parenthood’s Carol Whitehill Moses Center when an unidentified man and woman walking a dog started shouting at them from across the street. Bukovinac shouted back, the couple crossed the street, and a verbal altercation ensued.
The encounter turned physical when the woman threw her coffee at Bukovinac. Gribbin grabbed her arm to stop her, and then the man grabbed him, slammed him to the ground, and punched his back and head several times. At one point, the woman tried to take a phone from Bukovinac and pushed her.
“I tried to fend him off, actually, but then he held on to me,” Gribbin told the Signal. “That’s where the viral video that people are seeing online starts up.”
🚨Two proaborts decided to assault me and another pro-life defender outside Planned Parenthood in Washington DC this morning simply for standing on the sidewalk offering resources to families in crisis
— Terrisa Bukovinac (@Terrisalin) July 22, 2023
Bukovinac, the founder of Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising, says the police “refused to press charges.” Local police told the Signal they were still investigating and could not comment on whether the attackers have been identified.
The Daily Signal identifies multiple previous such cases in which D.C. Metro Police have displayed a lack of interest in pursuing pro-abortion crimes against pro-life residents. Earlier this week, LifeSiteNews covered a new ruling on a 2020 incident in the nation’s capital in which pro-lifers Warner DePriest and Erica Caporaletti were arrested for writing “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” in chalk on a public sidewalk outside a Planned Parenthood facility.
The Frederick Douglass Foundation and Students for Life of America sued the city for discrimination on the grounds that authorities had been vastly more lenient toward actual vandalism committed in the name of the far-left Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement that same year.
“The First Amendment prohibits discrimination on the basis of viewpoint irrespective of the government’s motive. We hold the Foundation has plausibly alleged the District discriminated on the basis of viewpoint in the selective enforcement of its defacement ordinance,” the court agreed, with the district having “all but abandoned enforcement of the defacement ordinance during the Black Lives Matter protests, creating a de facto categorical exemption for individuals who marked ‘Black Lives Matter’ messages on public and private property.”
Last year, pro-abortion vandals defaced Capitol Hill Crisis Pregnancy Center with red paint simulating blood and the message “Jane Says Revenge” in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, part of a wave of similar attacks on nonprofits offering women alternatives to abortion.
Since then, Metro has extended police protection to the center, for which director Janet Durig is grateful, but the Daily Signal reported last December that the department suspended the investigation, ostensibly due to lack of evidence.
Nor did federal law enforcement ever contact the center, despite such crimes violating the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
The federal government’s disregard for pro-life Americans reflects that of the capital.
Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah called out Attorney General Merrick Garland’s claim to take pro-abortion violence seriously.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) “has announced charges against 34 individuals for blocking access to or vandalizing abortion clinics,” whereas “there have been over 81 reported attacks on pregnancy centers, 130 attacks on Catholic churches since the leak of the Dobbs decision [overturning Roe], and only two individuals have been charged,” Lee challenged Garland in March.
Garland claimed that the FACE Act applies equally to both sides, and the discrepancy was due not to politics but to infractions against abortion centers generally being in broad daylight with abundant witnesses and photography to more easily identify perpetrators. He also claimed the DOJ has reached out to victimized churches and pregnancy centers, something contradicted by those interviewed by the Signal.
The feds infamously took a dramatically harder line against pro-life activist Mark Houck last year.
While sidewalk counseling outside a Philadelphia abortion facility in 2021, Houck pushed 70-year-old pro-abortion activist Bruce Love, who had been harassing his then-12-year-old son. The family says Houck shoved the man away to protect the child from Love, who was verbally hostile and had intruded on his personal space, and though Love fell he was uninjured.
The altercation, a local matter that had long since been tossed out of court when Love failed to appear for a hearing in his civil suit, somehow drew the interest of the DOJ under Garland and President Joe Biden, which on the morning of September 23, 2022, sent a team of 25 to 30 FBI agents and around 15 vehicles to swarm their property.
Weapons drawn, “they started pounding on the door and yelling for us to open it,” according to Mark’s wife Ryan-Marie. Frightening their children, the agents arrested Houck and took him away, charging him with violating the FACE Act due to a claimed “ATTACK OF A PATIENT ESCORT,” punishable by potentially a decade in prison and a $350,000 fine.
The case drew intense national scrutiny and outrage, and in January a jury found Houck not guilty of either felony the administration had charged him with. But while he was exonerated, the case, along with those of pro-lifers in the District of Columbia, remain troubling examples of unequal application of justice in the United States.