By Ariel Hobbs, The Catholic University of America & Aidan McIntosh, The Catholic University of America
Special Thanks To: Kelsey Nowack, The Catholic University of America
This morning, two protestors from Students for Life of America (SFLA) were allegedly harassed and arrested by Washington DC police officers for attempting to paint “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” in front of the 4th Street NE Planned Parenthood Location. Although the group claims to have received adequate permission to paint their message on the nearby street, they were prevented from doing so by the officers. Instead, the demonstrators began sketching their message with chalk on a sidewalk but were unable to finish when the officers arrested them. A student who spoke to the duo told Clarifying Catholicism they were released after spending a short time in a cell and were charged with desecration of public property.
According to SFLA spokesperson Kristi Hamrick, the pro-life protestors secured the rights from the city to paint the quote on the street. She told LifeSiteNews that:
After applying and receiving our permit for this event today, after being told by the Metropolitan police that the Mayor has… ‘opened a Pandora’s box’ by painting public streets, we arrived to find six police cars threatening to arrest our team and students if they painted, even using the [tempera] paint we bought that the Police Department specifically requested.” The intent is to express pro-life sentiment as the D.C. government allows its streets to be painted with “Black Lives Matter” and “Defund the Police.”
Catholic University of America student Catriona Fee was present this morning at the event, and she graciously spoke to Clarifying Catholicism about her experience:
I arrived immediately after the two pro-lifers were arrested. One was a student, and the other was a young staffer with Students for Life. From my understanding, they were arrested for chalking ‘Black preborn lives matter’ on the sidewalk in front of the NoMa Planned Parenthood. They weren’t even able to write the whole thing out before they were handcuffed. Students for Life had a permit to protest that day, and was actually planning to paint Black PRE-BORN Lives Matter on the street, and had cleared that with DCPD.
Fee believes that this was a coordinated effort to censor students, and she holds the mayor of DC accountable for this debacle. “I was shocked that police officers would arrest students my age,for writing in chalk on a sidewalk,” she stated. “I believe that this is the purposeful attempted silencing of pro-lifers by Mayor Muriel Bowser, and I think the disparity of how pro-lifers were treated this morning should shock every American.”
Today marks National Pro-Life Generation Sidewalk Day, organized by Students for Life this year. Taking the proper precautions for a pandemic, many young pro-life activists have continued to organize protests in front of Planned Parenthoods and other abortion clinics. Since the brutal murder of George Floyd in the early June, there have been countless protests and riots across cities in the United States with demand for racial justice and equality. While these pro-life protests might initially appear unrelated to racial justice, abortion largely reflects racial inequality, as it disproportionally targets African-American children when compared to other races (CDC).
SFLA spokesperson Kristi Hamrick, in her statement to LifeSiteNews, stressed that Black Lives Matter protestors faced no repercussions for painting “Defund The Police” on streets, public, and private property. Yet, as soon as pro-lifers painted a message in support of protecting unborn Black lives, they were arrested. The hypocrisy is evident.
Planned Parenthood has been accused of targeting Black lives for profit by putting their clinics specifically in low-income, traditionally African-American neighborhoods. Unborn Black lives have become akin to an endangered species, with just as many Black babies being aborted as being born each day in some cities (see the Wall Street Journal). In fact, the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, is quoted as having said, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” Her work of blatant racism and eugenics has continued in her legacy: Planned Parenthood.
Catriona Fee echoed the hypocrisy of Planned Parenthood amidst protests against racism, commenting
I was protesting because Planned Parenthood is founded on racist eugenics and targets women of color. In recent months, the mainstream conversation about race excludes the unborn and how Planned Parenthood kills hundreds of Black babies every day. I protest to give them a voice, and to bring awareness to the movement to defund the deeply racist institution that is Planned Parenthood.
From the moment of conception, an unborn baby has its own unique DNA. By 18 days in the womb, its heart has started beating. From as early as 42 days, brainwaves can be observed. Unborn babies feel pain at 10 weeks, and all of its organs are functioning at 8 weeks gestational age. It is clear that these unborn babies are human and are being murdered through the atrocity that is abortion.
By targeting Black unborn babies through strategic placement of abortion locations, Planned Parenthood and its contemporaries only further racist rhetoric in action. By silencing pro-life protestors who wish to share that “Black Preborn Lives Matter,” they effectively say that no Black lives matter.
As Catriona Fee so pointedly, yet eloquently, said, “The disparity of how pro-lifers were treated this morning should shock every American.”
[Correction: an earlier version of the article said that the two demonstrators who were arrested were students]
CDC. <https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/ss/ss6713a1.htm>. Accessed 1 Aug. 2020.
LifeSiteNews. <https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-pro-lifers-arrested-trying-to-chalk-black-preborn-lives-matter-at-planned-parenthood>. Accessed 1 Aug. 2020.
It is good to hear this side of the story as I was told that CUA students were grafitiing a planned parenthood, which did not make sense. This tells the whole story. Well done Clarifying Catholicism