Has all civility been lost in politics? It seems so, at least when it comes to the progressive left feeling particularly strongly about issues like abortion.
Representative Brian Sims, a member of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives, demonstrated this perfectly when he posted a video last week of himself aggressively harassing an older woman peacefully praying with a rosary outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, and asking viewers to identify who she is so he can protest in front of her house.
In another video, taken a month before on the Thursday before Easter, Rep. Sims deliberately targeted three teenagers and their mother praying peacefully at Planned Parenthood in honor of Holy Week. During the confrontation, he aggressively approaches the three teenage girls, ages 15 and age 13, instead of the adult with them, and demanded that viewers identify the teenagers. If his audience did so he would donate $100 to Planned Parenthood.
It is not appropriate for an adult man, let alone a state representative, to ask people online to track down and identify underage teenage girls. In some states, perhaps even his own, that could be considered a crime. (The Philadelphia Police Department and the district attorney’s office are looking to see if his actions violate consent and cyberbullying laws.)
In response to the outrage that his videos have caused, from both sides of the aisle, he tweeted, “Bring it, Bible Bullies! You are bigots, sexists, and misogynists and I see right through your fake morals and your broken values.” The ignorance of this statement is astounding, and fantastic example of ad hominem, an argument that focuses on personal attacks rather than facts.
Needless to say, there is no place for this type of behavior when it comes to engaging people who are just trying to express their constitutional right to free assembly, especially for a politician. Having a voice and a Twitter following does not give Rep. Sims the right to aggressively harass women and girls in order to spew his own political agenda. What he did is inappropriate and demonstrates to the world that he is a bully incapable of understanding that just as he advocates for the “right” to abortion in this country, pro-life supporters also have the right to assemble, pray and minister to those women and preborn babies.
Many are already calling for Rep. Sims to resign immediately from office, but so far it appears like he is doubling down on his actions. On Tuesday, Rep. Sims posted to Twitter a video of himself attempting to but never actually issuing an apology to either the older woman or the young teenage girls he accosted. He seems to believe that his actions are righteous, so that gives him a pass at decency. And he isn’t alone in that conviction.
Across the country, there have been attacks against pro-life individuals peacefully demonstrating or praying at abortion clinics. At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a pro-abortion feminist physically assaulted a pro-life student activist as he was putting up pro-life flyers. Luckily, law enforcement officers were quick to respond to the incident, and the feminist will be cited and likely charged with misdemeanor assault. She claimed that the signs “triggered” her.
In another instance, during a 40 Days for Life prayer event earlier this year, an 85-year-old man was physically assaulted by a pro-abortion activist for doing nothing more than peacefully praying outside a San Francisco Planned Parenthood. It is unclear at this time if an investigation has been launched by the local police, and Planned Parenthood has been uncooperative and unwilling to release the video tapes. The same individual also victimized another 40 Days for Life team earlier that week.
These are just a couple of the incidents that have occurred involving pro-life individuals or groups who assemble in order to peacefully pray, advocate and reach out to the hurting and vulnerable women who walk into Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics across the country. The aggressive responses towards pro-life activists are symptoms of a larger problem – people who believe that any behavior is acceptable if their cause is considered righteous according to the progressive left.
In his video with the older woman, Rep. Sims says, “This (woman praying for the lives of women and preborn babies) is what broken values look like.” His argument makes no sense. How is a woman praying, with a rosary in hand, a threat or a symptom of broken values? Women who are struggling with an unplanned pregnancy need prayer, not a hysterical man who touts his political power over someone weaker than himself. That is not bravery or righteousness, it is cowardly.
An effective response to someone like Rep. Sims, a man who cannot be reasoned with, is prayer. In fact, the older woman in the video released a statement to local news networks saying simply, “I forgive him, and I am praying for him. Please do the same.” It is a perfect response.
Pray for people like Rep. Sims who cannot see beyond their own prejudice, pray for the women who feel like abortion is their only option, and pray that the lives of preborn babies will be saved through the peaceful prayers and demonstrations that occur at abortion clinics across the country every day.
On Friday, there will also be a pro-life rally at the Planned Parenthood in solidarity for life and those that were verbally harassed by Rep. Sims. Abby Johnson, Lila Rose, Matt Walsh and others plan to attend. It is at 11:00am in front of the Planned Parenthood at 1144 Locust Street in Philadelphia.
Photo from PA House Video via Youtube