Austin Beigel has spent years in the pro-life movement. In fact, he met his wife that way. So he’s no stranger to the kind of violent confrontations that are seemingly becoming commonplace during these kinds of rallies and protests.
Beigel, who is now working full-time for Created Equal, a pro-life advocacy organization, was attacked by a pro-abortion activist on April 2, just a few weeks before he graduated from Ohio State University.
During a phone interview Wednesday with Faithwire, Beigel said he was on the campus of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill as part of Created Equal’s “Road Trip for Life,” a pro-life campaign. Moments after setting up photos of preborn infants as well as graphic abortion images, Beigel said the woman confronted him and attacked him.
The woman, whose name has not be revealed, was charged with misdemeanor assault. She was arrested by citation, which means she was charged even though the police officers involved didn’t physically arrest her.
Beigel said her next court date is scheduled for early June.
How did he respond?
Not long after footage of the encounter was published, Beigel took to Facebook to encourage his friends and followers to pray for the woman who attacked him.
He said the fact he was able to respond the way he did is a result of the “attitude God has given me through his grace.”
“Faith is everything to my responsiveness to situations,” Beigel said. “I realize that there but by the grace of God go I. And without Christ’s grace upon my heart, I am her … I am believing those ridiculous things [about abortion].”
He went on to argue faith is an inseparable part of the pro-life message. Even though he can make a scientific case, he said, that still doesn’t address why abortion is wrong, from a moral perspective.
For that, Beigel explained, he has to turn to his faith.
“To actually tell someone why something is wrong, I have to appeal to a standard and the standard of where I get my morality comes from God himself, which is the ultimate standard,” he said. “So when we’re dealing with these tough issues, I use the Bible as a clarification tool to understand. I use it as my lens, through which I view the world.”
Beigel grew up in a Christian home, noting his interest in the pro-life cause was born out of an image he saw of an aborted infant when he was in high school. That photo, he recalled, “shook me to my core.”
In college, Beigel enlisted in the Army ROTC but was medically discharged prior to going active duty.
“I knew if I couldn’t save lives that way, I was going to do it this way,” he said of his decision to dedicate himself to the pro-life cause.
These kinds of confrontations seem to be cropping up more often.
In mid-April, a young woman shoved an elderly pro-life activist to the ground outside an abortion clinic in Louisville, the only one in the entire state of Kentucky.
Much like Beigel, the 82-year-old Donna Durning responded in love. She said she has forgiven her alleged attacker, Janaya Alyce Gregory, and is asking others to pray for the 31-year-old woman.
“I believe that the lady who caused this injury needs prayers,” Durning said, “and I’m forgiving her and I would hope that people would also pray for her.”
And last week, Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D) broadcast himself harassing a pro-life woman praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia.
Sims repeatedly shoved his phone in the woman’s face and boisterously declared, “Shame on you,” ridiculing the demonstrator for more than eight minutes over her opposition to abortion.
The local lawmaker’s actions prompted conservative writer Matt Walsh to organize a pro-life rally at the abortion clinic in Pennsylvania. The event has been endorsed by Live Action founder Lila Rose and former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson, both of whom plan to attend the rally.
The event is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. outside the Planned Parenthood clinic located at 1144 Locus Street in Philadelphia.