Obama Admin Targets Pro-Lifers in FBI Training Forum With Pro-Abortion Orgs
by Steven Ertelt
September 30, 2010
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 Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- Documents LifeNews.com obtained today reveal the Obama administration partnered with leading pro-abortion organizations to host an FBI training seminar in August with the main focus of declaring as "violent" the free speech activities of pro-life Americans.
On August 25, 2010, the FBI and the United States Department of Justice co-sponsored a training seminar with Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation and the Feminist Majority Foundation.
When information about the seminar, which took place at FBI headquarters in Portland, Oregon, reached pro-life advocates, they asked officials for permission to attend and were granted access to the seminar and the training materials.
FBI and Obama administration officials provided participants with an 84-page document entitled “Resource Guide: Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers" that contained print copies of Power Point presentations prepared by the Justice Department and an analysis of alleged pro-life "violence" prepared by the pro-abortion groups.
The so-called violence perpetrated by pro-life advocates mostly contained examples of constitutionally-protected free speech, including activities such as praying, providing women outside abortion centers with alternatives information, and peaceful protesting or picketing.
Matt Bowman, a top attorney at the Alliance Defense Fund, told LifeNews.com today that the cooperation between the Obama administration and pro-abortion organizations to target pro-life free speech should cause alarm.
"The information presented in the seminar raises serious concerns over the United States government’s treatment of nonviolent free speech activities as 'violence' subject to investigation and prosecution," he said.
"Abortionist organizations have long lobbied to use the law to silence free speech activities. But in this seminar the FBI and USDOJ included those views in their own training seminar materials," he added. "This raises serious concerns about the United States government investigating peaceful, legal free speech activity in efforts that are ostensibly aimed at violence."
The Obama administration documents, on page 39-41 specifically list the names of pro-life organizations and websites sponsored by peaceful nonviolent groups.
Some of the organizations named in the FBI/DOJ seminar materials include 40 Days for Life, the ACLJ, Concerned Women for America, National Right to Life, Priests for Life, and Students for Life of America.
Julie Abbate of USDOJ, who presented at the seminar, is the attorney who filed a federal lawsuit in August 2010 against a pro-life advocate solely for leafleting while, allegedly, one time, crossing a driveway in front of an abortion center.
"The lawsuit is further evidence that USDOJ is putting its resources into prosecuting peaceful activity on public sidewalks, rather than violence," Bowman said.
Looking at some of the examples of pro-life free speech pegged as violence, pages 5 and 20 discuss and tabulate “violence statistics” including “disruption,” but define “disruption” as including “picketing,” which accounts for almost 90% of all the incidents listed in the FBI, USDOJ materials.
An entire section of the document is devoted to laws that address non-violent picketing in residential locations, at pages 77-84, as do the FMF surveys relied on in “The History of Violence,” page 11.
“The History of Clinic Violence” includes “the use of huge anti-abortion posters” on college and university campuses, and it identifies “boycotts against abortion providers" as another example. It complains of “the ability to publish almost anything on the Internet,” and of free speech lawsuits. These are all summarized as “The landscape of violence and harassment aimed at abortion providers.”
On page 67, the Justice Department says prosecuting federal law includes “gathering evidence” on “Leaflets or pamphlets” that pro-life targets are distributing, and “Signs [the] suspect was carrying.”
The documents indicate Planned Parenthood "maintain[s] a database of names, photos, license plate etc. of anti-choice groups and individuals” and that they work “proactively” with local law enforcement.
Pages 18 and 19 summarize an FMF survey discussing “intimidation,” and includes the distribution of leaflets labeled “Pamphlets Targeting Staff,” and any “noise disturbance.” These would include leaflets that warn women that specific abortion practitioners have killed women in botched abortions. This free speech activity constitutes a significant percent of the survey activities labeled “intimidation.”
The joint Obama administration-pro-abortion FBI training seminar follows on the heels of the Department of Homeland Security engaging in several instances of tracking or monitoring pro-life advocates and concluding they represent a security threat.
Last year, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano included pro-lifers in a report on domestic terrorism.
In the document, the Department of Homeland Security warned law officials about a supposed rise in "rightwing extremist activity," saying the poor economy and presence of a black president could spark problems.
According to the Washington Times, a footnote attached to the nine-page report from the Homeland Security Office of Intelligence and Analysis said the activities of pro-life advocates is included in "rightwing extremism in the United States.”
"It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration," the warning said.
After that, in May 2009, details emerged about a terrorism dictionary the administration had put together in March. The Domestic Extremism Lexicon called pro-life advocates violent and claims they employ racist overtones in engaging in criminal actions.
In February 2010, DOHS admitted it conducted an improper threat assessment of pro-life advocates in Wisconsin before an expected rally last year in response to the University of Wisconsin Hospital board decided to allow abortions.
In February 2009, an Oklahoma man with a homemade pro-life sign on his vehicle was pulled over and harassed by police for allegedly making a threat against the president.