Police officer comes in conflict with abortion 1992
I came across a 2010 blog post by Tony Perkins which recounted his face to face conflict with abortion as a police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana during a pro-life Operation Rescue protest.
Ironically, I had never heard his observations before as I was actually a reporter on the scene during those same protests.
“Having grown up in a Christian home and having accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at the age of nine, I just assumed that I was pro-life, even though I can’t recall ever hearing a sermon on the topic. After all, I thought, aren’t all good Christians pro-life?” Perkins writes.
It was 1992 and Operation Rescue launched the “Summer of Purpose” outside the Delta abortion clinic in Baton Rouge.
Perkins recalls the event, “In the summer of 1992, I came face to face with the realization that being pro-life was more than a slogan on a bumper sticker—it was an understanding that what some have relegated to a mere political issue is in fact at the very nexus of a God-honoring, just society.
That July, Operation Rescue—a nonviolent pro-life movement that was all over the news at the time—came to my hometown of Baton Rouge to conduct a “rescue” at one of the city’s two abortion clinics. This amounted to basically just sitting and praying—and sometimes singing hymns—in front of the clinic. The purpose was to get pregnant women to pause and rethink their abortion decision. As a veteran officer working with the Baton Rouge Police Department Reserves, I had a front-row seat to the event. And what I experienced would rock my world.”
I remember that event well. Day after day the pro-lifers held 24 hour prayer vigils outside the abortion clinic. Each team of prayer warriors would meet the other team with a greeting in song – then quietly- the shift change would take place. I watched the police sit behind a huge fence they had erected to protect the child killers inside.
“At roll call one evening, word came of the pending demonstration,” says Perkins, “I was taken aback by the negative and almost hostile reaction from some of my fellow officers. As the protest drew closer, the city spared no expense in mobilizing a tactical response that rivaled a small military operation.
“A public street was blocked off and an 8-foot chain-link fence was erected down the center of the road to keep the praying protestors from accessing the area around the clinic. In my nearly ten years of law enforcement and international antiterrorist work, I had never witnessed such a response to a planned peaceful protest.
“Why did the prospect of peaceful protestors elicit such an aggressive and militant response? I wanted to find out, so I purposefully chose not to work during the demonstration. Instead, I went to the clinic each morning that week as an observer to gain greater insight and clarity into this protest and the controversy surrounding it.”
I too was there early morning and late evening. I was there the entire week.
The day the protesters decided to block the clinic was amazing. They gathered early in the morning and broke off into battalions of sorts. Prayer support, worshipers, and rescuers.
Leading the protest were the worshipers and following behind them were several local pastors.
One by one, they approached the narrow gate entrance- read from the Holy Scriptures, knelt down and placed their bodies between the clinic and the babies scheduled to die that day.
As pro-lifers knelt down, evil swarmed in and I wondered why the police did not remove the abortion protesters who were taunting the rescuers.
The pro-choice protesters held rubber snakes and threw liquid on the pastors telling them it was HIV infected urine. It was a clear picture of good vs. evil and of light vs. darkness.
Perkins recounts what he saw, “Every morning I would arrive at the abortion clinic (along with my personal video camera), and in the evenings my wife and I would attend church services with those who were praying for and publicly standing for an end to abortion.
“Should God’s Word or man’s feckless opinion rule in our lives and laws? Clearly, evil will rule if God’s people remain silent.”
I witnessed the police also taunt, harass, chase, and beat pro-life protesters.
I was there in the middle of the night to document police removing their name tags and chased former California police officer, Chet Gallagher, beating him and other leaders.
Perkins also witnessed the abuse, he writes, “The experience was a pivotal moment in my life. The overly aggressive and—in a handful of cases—violent behavior of some officers against the peaceful protestors (all of which I was capturing on video) underscored for me that this was no mere “political” issue. It went to the core of who we are as a people.
“Persuaded that others needed to witness the real situation, I gave my video footage to a local TV station, which then aired the shocking clips each night. I also wrote about what I saw in a local publication.
“This venture into eyewitness reporting didn’t sit well with department officials, and as a result, I was suspended from the force. What I witnessed that week was one of those rare occasions when we are given the opportunity to see beyond the skirmishes to the real battle that is raging for the hearts and minds of people.”
I also witnessed the beauty of a single Black woman, opposed to abortion, walk across the field as she could no longer remain in the area of those who would not risk arrest. I watched as a Black police officer begged her to return to the line of protesters and not make him arrest her Her head shaking “no” she crossed her arms and went into his arms signifying her identity with unborn babies who have no rights at all.
The beauty of this week was that many lives were saved and children lived. The church arose and God’s Kingdom came face to face with darkness and overcame.
I want to be clear, I witnessed some police abuse but other officers were professional. Pro-lifers have been on the receiving end of police abuse from time to time, which I have documented before. One day, we hope law enforcement will step up and protect unborn life. One day….until then it is up to the people of God to take a stand for these innocent unborn babies.
As Perkins so eloquently states, “Should God’s Word or man’s feckless opinion rule in our lives and laws? Clearly, evil will rule if God’s people remain silent.”
Perkins now heads the pro-life organization, Family Research Council.