As Buffalo center reopens, congresswoman takes action to protect pro-life groups

As a burnt-out pregnancy center reopened near Buffalo, New York, on Monday, leaders vowed to continue their work and criticized authorities for a slow investigation and even appearing to condone the attack.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (RN.Y.) told the crowd that she introduced the Pregnancy Resource Center Defense Act to increase jail terms and fines for attacks on anti-pregnancy centers. -abortion such as CompassCare pregnancy services.

The fire that damaged the center began around 2:30 a.m. on June 7. Police have yet to announce the cause as arson or arrest anyone.

Center director Reverend Jim Harden said their security cameras captured video of multiple attackers with multiple incendiary devices, likely Molotov cocktails. Police have confiscated the security camera footage and the center cannot access it, Harden said.

Epoch Times Photo Epoch Times Photo Epoch Times Photo

Epoch Times Photo

Epoch Times Photo
Damage to CompassCare Pregnancy Center in Amherst, NY Its windows were smashed and fires started inside early June 7, 2022. Spray-painted on one wall was the message “Jane was there.” A pro-abortion group called Jane’s Revenge took credit for the attack. (Dan Berger/The Epoch Times)

Graffiti “Jane was here” was scrawled on the side of the building, and a pro-abortion group called Jane’s Revenge took credit for the subsequent firebombing. It was one of many such attacks on these centres, which offer advice, care and support to pregnant women to persuade them to keep their babies.

Tenney, Harden and New York State Senator George Borrello expressed contempt for the state’s official response to the incident, which Harden said caused $250,000 in damages and $150,000 additional in increased security costs.

Governor Kathy Hochul, they said, responded to the incident by moving to investigate, not Jane’s Revenge, but the centers themselves. She called pro-lifers “Neanderthals” less than two weeks after the attack. State Attorney General Letitia James has asked Google to remove pregnancy centers from their maps, Harden said.

60 similar incidents

Nearly 60 pregnancy centers and anti-abortion churches have been attacked nationwide in recent months, according to the Boston Globe, including attacks in Longmont, Colorado; Anchorage, Alaska; Portland, Oregon; and Madison, Wisconsin.

At the Longmont clinic, the attackers scrawled “if abortions aren’t safe, neither are you” on the walls of the building they burned down. The violence began after the impending Dobbs Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade.

The City of Amherst Police Department, where the CompassCare Pregnancy Services Center is located, declined to attend the reopening event and released a brief statement saying it was continuing to investigate in conjunction with the FBI. and other agencies. Efforts to reach the City of Amherst Police Department and the local FBI office in Buffalo for comment were unsuccessful.

The agencies have released virtually no information about their investigation, Harden said. “We are very frustrated with the time this is taking. It’s day 55. It’s inexcusable.

“It’s pro-abortion Kristallnacht,” he said. He defended his bold comparison of this wave of violence to that unleashed against German Jews by the Nazis in November 1938. Common to both events, he said, was the lack of public outcry and the denial of political leaders to criminalize it and go after the perpetrators.

“They turned around and said you deserved it… They sent a message that violence is okay if it supports their political agenda,” said State Sen. George Borrello, the only state lawmaker to attend the event today. “It’s worse than silence.

“Jane’s Revenge is emboldened by the inaction of our Governor, our Attorney General and our majority Democratic Legislature.”

The state’s controversial bail reform law means the perpetrators, if caught, will likely be released without bail. “Somebody has to die before progressives think it’s violence,” Borrello said.

mother or baby

Tension around abortion began to rise in the state long before the recent Dobbs ruling. Former Governor Andrew Cuomo pushed through a bill in 2019 making abortion a basic human right, Harden said. This means that under New York law, any doctor who refuses to refer a woman for an abortion is violating the pregnant woman’s civil rights.

CompassCare opened its Buffalo-area center in 2019. It saw about 1,100 patients last year and expects to see 1,600 this year. The attack did not stop their work. They saw patients right after the attack at their Rochester-area clinic and quickly found an undisclosed location in the Buffalo area where they could resume their visits.

A woman first gets several answers to her medical questions, Harden said. She wants to confirm that she is pregnant, find out how far along she is if she is, and find out if she has a sexually transmitted disease that can complicate an abortion. They are seen by paid nurses, who are supervised by volunteer doctors.

CompassCares also connects them with agencies willing to work with women during and after pregnancy, with support, financial assistance, connection to adoption agencies and other help.

A woman having an abortion because of all the pressure she feels — from family, boyfriend, work, financial pressures or abortion providers — is ultimately an act of coercion, Harden said.

“Everything hits her like a wave. There is an instinctive reaction “I have to get out of this”. She needs to get to the point where she can breathe and think about what she’s really up against. We can help him overcome these obstacles.

“We believe that everyone is made in the image of God and worthy of protection, both mother and child. If you really believe in it, it takes a lot of work to sustain it. The church is ready to do the work, pay for it, walk with it, and become friends with it.

This isn’t the first time a significant act of abortion-related violence has occurred in Amherst, an affluent suburb outside of Buffalo. Dr. Barnett Slepian, one of three doctors who performed abortions in the area, was murdered by a sniper in 1998.

The killer, hiding in the woods behind Slepian’s Amherst home, shot him through the kitchen window on a Friday night after the doctor returned from his synagogue. The shooter, James Kopp, was placed on the FBI’s ten most wanted list, arrested in France in 2001 and extradited. He is currently serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for second degree murder. The federal government has waived the death penalty as a condition of extradition.

After the murder, anti-abortion violence receded and temperatures cooled as the government and activists on both sides established rules to allow clinics to operate, medical professionals to go to work and protesters to manifest.

Dan M. Berger

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