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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

July-18-00

Feminist Majority Foundation & Institute for Democracy Studies CAlls Attention to Priest for Life's Support of Violent Wing of Anti-Abortion Movement

Washington DC - As Priests for Life launches their anti-abortion electoral media campaign today, Feminist Majority Foundation and Institute for Democracy Studies together call attention to Fr. Frank Pavone's ongoing relationship with militant and extreme elements of the anti-abortion movement.

Just two weeks ago, Pavone addressed the National Right to Life Committee convention and his organization, Priests For Life, distributed a booklet entitled Our Media is the Streets. Highlighted in that booklet is Pavone's support for anti-abortion extremists and their tactics.

Notably, Pavone justifies criminal trespass at abortion clinics: "Rescues are not acts of civil disobedience or protests primarily meant to get a message to the public.…Breaking a law of trespass to prevent killing is perfectly justified in this and other circumstances," Our Media is the Streets, by Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director, Priests for Life, n.d. (emphasis added).

In the same booklet, Pavone also praises convicted federal racketeer Joseph Scheidler, noting the "outstanding success of his efforts," efforts which a federal jury, in NOW v. Scheidler, found to constitute a nationwide campaign resulting in 21 acts of extortion, which included threats of physical violence.

Pavone's Our Media is the Streets additionally includes a declaration of anti-abortion leaders across America, a substantial number of whom have been jailed for criminal violations relating to abortion clinic harassment and terrorism. These leaders advocate going beyond harassment at clinics and also call for harassment at the homes and neighborhoods of doctors and clinic staff.

"We highlight Pavone's ties to extremists today - only one week after yet another abortion provider was the victim of violence," said Smeal, referring to the July 11 stabbing of Vancouver abortion provider Dr. Garson Romalis. "We hope that Priests For Life's announcement making choice a priority in voting is a turn of strategy from harassment at clinics. We welcome voters making abortion a top priority in the upcoming presidential election," added Smeal.

Pavone, who has been directly referred to as Pope John Paul II's "Vicar for Life," is also a member of the Vatican's Pontifical Council of the Family. "As our recent research report on Priests for Life shows, all Americans need to be concerned about what is concealed by this organization's carefully coiffed mainstream image," says Alfred Ross, IDS president.

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