An unidentified male passerby took it upon himself to defend women at a pro-life press conference Tuesday–by interrupting the woman who was speaking.
A small group of activists organized by the pro-life investigative group Live Action had gathered outside the Planned Parenthood in downtown Washington, D.C. to draw attention to taxpayer funding of abortion under Obamacare, and related issues.
A small podium was set up with microphones and speakers outside the clinic entrance. About seven pro-lifers stood behind the podium holding signs condemning Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer subsidies. Two men and two women wearing bright orange pinnies that read “PRO-CHOICE CLINIC ESCORTS” stood on the fringes of the press gaggle that had gathered.
Lila Rose, Live Action’s founder and president, spoke first, explaining that Planned Parenthood performs 25 percent of all abortions in the United States each year–320,000 of 1.2 million in 2008. She also highlighted the recent Government Accountability Office report finding that over 1,000 healthcare plans covered by Obamacare cover elective abortions. (RELATED: GAO Says Obamacare Exchanges Funnel Taxpayer Dollars To Plans That Cover Abortion)
As she was speaking, a man walking past yelled “Stop interfering with women’s healthcare decisions!” He walked up to Rose and leaned in to her microphone, yelling over her as she continued to deliver her prepared remarks. “This is all a sham!” he said. Rose ignored him, reading calmly from her speech until he finally left a few moments later. The man refused to identify himself to or speak with The Daily Caller.
Speaking after Rose was Ryan Bomberger, Chief Creative Office of the Radiance Foundation–and a child of rape. “Unintended does not mean unwanted, and certainly does not mean unloved,” he said, retelling the story of his biological mother who carried him to term and offered him up for adoption despite her violent sexual assault. He also talked about the disproportionate effect of abortion on the black community, pointing out, for example, that in New York City more black babies are aborted than born alive.
As the other speakers–Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest, Family Research Council Executive Director Joshua Duggar, Concerned Women for America’s Alison Howard and more–got up and spoke, cars driving by on 16th Street slowed down to get a look at the gathering, some honking and some yelling. (RELATED: Planned Parenthood Has Abortion Quotas, Says Former Clinic Director)
The speakers also highlighted Planned Parenthood’s repeated cover-ups of underage rape victims, Americans’ widespread opposition to funding abortion with taxpayer dollars and Harry Reid’s blocking of the bipartisan No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act, which was introduced to the Senate over 13 months ago. Both Duggar and Yoest placed particular importance on upcoming Senate elections.
Duggar later told TheDC that in the next few weeks he personally will be campaigning for pro-life Senate candidates in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. (RELATED: Vermont Gov Praises Planned Parenthood Despite Child Rape Coverups)
The conference lasted about 40 minutes with no further incident. Live Action’s communications director, Drew Belsky, told TheDC they do not have to coordinate with Planned Parenthood to speak in front of their facility, although they do work with local law enforcement.
The clinic escorts, he said, are “here regularly,” and their presence Tuesday was unrelated to the press conference. He said that the volunteers are around more frequently this time of year because of the 40 Days for Life campaign, during which faith groups pray and hope to minister outside abortion clinics throughout the country. (RELATED: Planned Parenthood Failed To Report A Child Rapist, Who Went On To Assault More Girls)
While he said that they didn’t host the press conference specifically because of upcoming elections, he did note that it’s “easy for people to get distracted” during election season, and lose sight of some important issues.
The Planned Parenthood clinic where the presser was held performs abortions up to 19 weeks. Twenty-nine percent of D.C. pregnancies ended in induced abortions in 2011, according to the most recent data available, putting the District well above the national rate of 17 percent.