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Supreme Court Protest Organizers Won’t Rule Out Violence
By Jackson Elliott, The Epoch Times, June 13, 2022
WASHINGTON—As officials in Washington brace for possible violence following a Supreme Court decision about access to abortion, organizers of a group planning protests at the high court told followers not to oppose the use of violence.
Leaders of the group “Shut Down DC” stated at an organizing meeting at Petworth United Methodist Church in Washington on June 12 that violence runs counterproductive to the group’s strategy, but isn’t necessarily bad.
Shut Down DC plans to blockade the U.S. Supreme Court building on June 13 so that justices cannot enter. The activist group is protesting in response to a leaked high court draft opinion that suggests the court plans to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The court said last week that it’s planning to issue decisions on June 13 and 15, without being more specific.
“We’re not in the business of telling people what to do,” longtime activist Nadine Bloch said. “We are in the business of pointing out the structural violence of the system. If people don’t like other people’s tactics, fix the system. We’re not going to condemn those other tactics.”
The remark was made in the context of a training day, during which organizers explained to protesters what to do if people showed up and encouraged violence, among other scenarios.
“If you want to do property destruction, do it in secret. If you’re doing it publicly, you’re probably an infiltrator,” Bloch said. “There’s no condemnation of bringing the system down.”
Another activist, who identified herself as Sadie, said that protest “action groups” can split into “red teams” and “green teams” if violence starts. The “red teams” could start violence, while the “green team” could provide cover and be “eyes and ears” on the “red team,” she said.
Shut Down DC’s main organizer, Patrick Young, suggested that people go and start violence away from the main body of the group.
“Y’all should go somewhere else and do that,” he said.
One of the activists, a man who called himself Rusty, said that he has stolen banners from politicians and that the group will repaint them to use in the protest.
“If anybody needs a banner, like a nice heavy-duty banner, I’ve been stealing politicians’ banners from all over town,” he said. “They’ve got white backs, you can spray paint whatever you want on. I’ve probably gotten, like, 10 of them.”
None of the activists at the meeting called him out for acknowledging the thefts.
Washington authorities have said that they are stepping up the city’s police presence and are urging visitors not to bring guns.
“We are increasing our presence to have coverage in neighborhoods and our downtown areas, which includes the activation of civil disturbance unit platoons,” Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee said at a press conference. “In addition, we are working closely with our law enforcement, government, and community partners to ensure that all of these events are peaceful and our neighborhoods are safe.”
The FBI has also said it will not “tolerate violence, destruction, interference with government functions, or trespassing on government property.”
The activist group at the church included 17 activists; leaders said they expected hundreds of people to show up on June 13 to block the entrances to the U.S. Supreme Court building.
Of the 17 activists, 15 were white, and 10 were women.
Activist Hope Neyer told the group that the history of pro-abortion movements is too white and too woman-focused. She said pro-abortion groups now need to include women who claim to be men by dropping language about “women’s rights.”
The activists planned to meet at 7 a.m. at Stanton Park, then march down Maryland Avenue to the high court’s building.
Activists at the meeting also discussed how to draw media attention.
“If you’re being dragged away, who’s going to watch?” one of the activists said. “The press. The media. Everyone here needs to have a sound bite. You have a chance to talk to the nation seriously.”
The 17 protesters practiced marching in the park outside the church. Some pretended to be “police” and attempted to “arrest” marchers and prevent them from passing through the park. Others practiced marching around police lines, or sitting with linked arms to resist arrest, and responding to police attempts to carry them away by going limp.
In every exercise, the mock-up “police” successfully prevented activists from nearing their destination.
Bloch advised protesters to consider wearing adult diapers so they could relieve themselves without leaving the Supreme Court.
Many of the protesters said they planned to stay until 5 .p.m. in hopes that more people would join the protest after work.
Doctors Don’t Want to Perform Abortions
For nearly half a century—ever since the Supreme Court decided there was a federal constitutional right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973—abortion activists have been trying to figure out how to get more physicians to actually perform the procedure. It’s been a tough battle. A widely publicized survey of OB-GYNs published in 2011 indicated that although 97 percent of respondents said they had been approached by female patients seeking abortions, only 14 percent of them offered the service.
That number has ticked up to 24 percent over the past decade, according to some reports, an indication that the situation hasn’t changed much. Perhaps physicians—who tend to work in large corporate-style practices these days—fear the disapproval of their colleagues. Perhaps they don’t want to deal with pro-life protesters outside their doors. Or perhaps they just plain have moral qualms.
For example, The Washington Post ran a glowing May 10 profile of a doctor, Franz Theard, who runs an abortion clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, just across the Texas line, that helps women skirt a 2021 Texas law banning nearly all abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. But it turns out that Theard doesn’t currently perform abortions after all, at least the surgical kind. “I mean, imagine crushing something and taking it out. It’s heartbreaking to a certain extent. Honestly, I didn’t like to do it,” he said. He limits his abortion practice these days to handing out pills, which are safe only if administered during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy.
There’s an obvious irony there. The Supreme Court seems to be indicating, via a leaked draft majority opinion, that it will overturn Roe v. Wade before it winds up its term at the end of June, returning the issue of abortion’s legality to the states. The case before the court, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, involves a Mississippi law barring most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. So even on the off-chance that some of the justices who signed the draft opinion change their minds and vote to uphold Roe, it seemingly won’t make any difference for cautious or squeamish or conscience-stricken physicians who either limit their abortion practice to the very earliest weeks—or shun it altogether. And the majority of OB-GYNs, as we have seen, fall into that latter category.
Abortion activists’ solution to this dilemma, at least since the 1990s, has been to force more doctors to perform abortions—or, rather, to make it impossible to be certified as an OB-GYN, or maybe even a physician, period—without receiving abortion “training,” which means participating hands-on in abortions. This drastic inversion of the Hippocratic Oath, in which doctors once pledged never to perform the procedure, would mean that every specialist you consulted about safely delivering your baby would also be willing to cut that baby out of your body if that’s what you wanted instead. It’s called, in the words of a recent New Yorker article on the subject, a “patient-centered approach to health care” that makes the individual doctor’s moral qualms irrelevant.
This approach has worked out better in theory than in practice—at least so far. In 1995 the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) started requiring all medical residency programs—the multi-year specialized training at hospitals after graduating from medical school—in obstetrics and gynecology to learn how to perform “induced abortion.” After strong protests from Catholic and other religiously affiliated hospitals and medical programs, Congress in 1996 passed a law forbidding discrimination in federal funding to institutions that decline to comply with the ACGME rule. Subsequent federal laws, including, to some extent, Obamacare, have reiterated federal support for conscience objections.
The result has been a surprising variation in ACGME compliance. A 2018 survey reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that 64 percent of residency programs make abortion training a routine part of residents’ schedules (presumably allowing conscience objections), 31 percent consider it merely optional, and 5 percent (mostly Catholic hospitals) continue not to offer it all. And even in the most ACGME-compliant programs, relatively few residents learn how to perform the late-term dilation-and-evacuation procedures (“crushing something and taking it out”) that even abortion-performing physicians like Theard find repugnant.
So in order to boost the number of abortion providers, abortion advocates have proposed a range of “solutions”: letting non-physicians (nurses, midwives, physician assistants) perform abortions (that’s the situation in 18 liberal-leaning states), and expanding abortion-training mandates to family-practice residencies. The current favorite recommendation, however, seems to be simply screening out doctors who might have qualms about abortion in medical school before they even graduate into residencies. Last year, a coalition of abortion advocates asked the American Medical Association (AMA) to support mandated abortion training for medical students. The AMA rejected the proposal—and several states have laws or pending bills barring such training at public universities. But expect the pressure to continue.
“Pro-life anything has NO PLACE in a medical school,” the New Yorker reported as a typical Twitter attitude toward aspiring doctors who don’t want to perform abortions. With cultural pressure like that, abortion advocates seem to be well along in their goal of assuring that the obstetrician who delivers your baby today spent yesterday terminating the lives of other babies before they could be born.
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