On Friday, Jon Russell, town councilman for Culpeper, Virginia, found the local pro-life pregnancy center vandalized. A window was broken, signs had been spray-painted, and vandals even wrote the message “Jesus hates this sh*t.” Russell told PJ Media this attack — which police are investigating as a potential hate crime — has all the hallmarks of the national abortion movement, and especially Planned Parenthood.
“The things that were written on the signs — one sign that said, ‘Fake,’ the other sign said, ‘You hate women,’ and ‘Jesus hates this sh*t’ — all of these things are not lingo that is common around here in Virginia, not as much as you would see in California or New York,” Russell told PJ Media on Monday. He suggested the vandals likely came from out of state or had connections with the national abortion movement.
“What makes the vandalism unique is that this didn’t happen in Richmond or in a college town. This happened in rural America, north-central Virginia. We’re 70 miles from Washington, D.C.,” the town councilman said. “It’s almost like a shot over the bow, for it to take place in such a remote area.”
Russell recalled discovering the vandalism at around 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning. “I jumped in my car and I drove down there and when I got there it was pretty bad: broken window, graffiti on the walls, on the signs, it had the feel of being both political and personal,” he said. Police had arrived at 3:30 a.m., he added, and “captured at least a couple foot sizes in the snow.”
The spray paint branding the pregnancy center “fake” echoes a longstanding assault on such centers by national abortion groups like Planned Parenthood. Just last year, the Supreme Court struck down a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion, on the grounds that the services provided by such centers are incomplete because they don’t include abortion.
Thomas Glessner, president and CEO of the National Institute for Life Advocates (NIFLA), the group involved in the Supreme Court case, pointed out the “fake” spray paint and insisted that this vandalism is connected to the national abortion movement.
“This is not a lone-wolf, lone-ranger action,” Glessner told PJ Media on Monday. “These people are connected in some way with the national campaign.” He suggested that if police catch the perpetrators, an investigation “could — and most likely would — expose an awful lot of the inner workings of the pro-abortion industry, to go after pregnancy centers.”
The NIFLA president explained that the “fake clinics” attack against pro-life pregnancy centers started back in 1982. “In 1982, in the offices of Planned Parenthood in New York City, a plot was put together,” Glessner said. The campaign centers on “this false narrative that pregnancy centers lie, deceive, and are fraudulent.” Only abortion clinics can be trusted to help women, the narrative goes.
“NIFLA was founded in 1992 to provide help and counsel to these centers, in response to these very vicious attacks,” he said. “Planned Parenthood launches hysteria among pro-choice activists so they get hysterical about pro-life centers.” In reality, however, pregnancy centers provide many important services to expectant mothers, and the one that got vandalized in Culpeper has certified medical staff.
Glessner noted that California, Hawaii, and Illinois all passed laws “to essentially shut down pregnancy centers.” Such laws demand, “You will be abortion referral agencies or we will shut you down.”
The NIFLA president insisted that if he had lost his Supreme Court case against California, this kind of law would have come to Virginia.
Abortion activism had reached a fever pitch in the Old Dominion in the days leading up to this vandalism.
“The 72 hours prior to this vandalism is very important to note,” town councilman Jon Russell said. On Wednesday, Delegate Kathy Tran (D-Springfield) testified that her pro-abortion REPEAL Act (H.B. 2491) enables an abortionist to kill an unborn baby up to the beginning of labor if one sole doctor believes killing that infant would protect a mother’s life or health. The bill even removes language stipulating that in order for a woman to have a third-trimester abortion, having the baby would have to “substantially and irremediably” damage the woman’s health.
To make matters worse, Gov. Ralph Northam (D-Va.) — a pediatrician — later made remarks effectively endorsing infanticide for babies born alive in late-term abortions. He later doubled down on these comments. Planned Parenthood vociferously defended him, until an old yearbook photo showing him either in blackface or a KKK hood emerged on Friday.
In describing Northam’s remarks, Russell suggested the governor was “sharing what seemed to be personal experience, putting a baby on the table and deciding what the parents want to do with it.”
Tran’s testimony and Northam’s remarks shocked political observers, even leading pro-abortion Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) to oppose the abortion bill.
Glessner insisted, however, that the Virginia bill — and the radical New York abortion bill passed earlier this month — did not go beyond Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the first place — Roe v. Wade (1973). “Under Roe v. Wade, abortion is legal for all nine months of pregnancy,” if a doctor believes it necessary for the health of the mother. “The Court defined health in such a broad way as to include virtually any stressor” for the woman’s mental health.
“All New York did was to codify that holding of Roe v. Wade,” in case the Supreme Court reverses that decision, Glessner told PJ Media. He insisted that even though some states prohibit abortion after 22 weeks, states could not penalize an abortionist who violates those statutes so long as he testified that he considered the abortion necessary for the health of the mother.
After the blackface photo controversy, many Republicans and Democrats have called for Northam to resign. If he were to resign, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D-Va.) would become governor.
Glessner insisted that pro-life activists need to redouble their efforts in Virginia. “If we lose control of the legislature, this bill will come up again,” he said. While Northam may resign, “Justin Fairfax is just as bad or worse as far as these issues.”
As for the vandalism, the NIFLA president suggested that it should energize pro-life voters and moderates to reject pro-abortion candidates. “I hope this wakes up the people — and particularly the Christian conservatives — in Virginia. We are that close to losing this state,” he said.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.