Yet another pro-life activist — this time in Mississippi — has been physically confronted during a peaceful demonstration.
Moments into a video of the encounter, a man prodded Coleman Boyd with his cane. Soon thereafter, another man shoved the pro-life activist as a crowd of angry pro-abortion demonstrators swarmed around him.
Boyd, though, stood his ground as profanity laced shouts filled the air, his idealogical opponents hoping to drown out his words.
The antagonistic demonstrators even taunted Boyd about his faith. One pro-abortion protester accused Boyd of “spitting on women” at abortion clinics.
“And you call yourself a Christian,” the man charged.
After a few more minutes trying to talk with the unruly crowd, Boyd walked away and found a nearby police officer, who appeared to ignore the man when he said he was poked with a cane and shoved by a protester.
What else has happened?
The situation with Boyd relatively mild when seen as an isolated incident. But there’s no doubt there has been an escalation recently, an uptick in violence against pro-life activists.
In early April, a pro-life activist with the group Created Equal was punched by a pro-abortion demonstrator. Though the attacker wasn’t physically arrested, she was charged with misdemeanor assault.
The pro-life activist, Austin Beigel, urged people to pray for the woman who punched him. During a phone interview with Faithwire, he said his positive response was the result of the “attitude God has given me through his grace.”
Around the same time, a 31-year-old woman, Janaya Alyce Gregory, allegedly shoved 82-year-old Donna Durning to the ground when she encountered the woman peacefully demonstrating outside an abortion clinic in Louisville.
Gregory has since been charged with second-degree assault.
Much like Beigel, Durning took the high road, asking people to pray for her alleged attacker.
“I believe that the lady who caused this injury needs prayers,” Durning said from her hospital bed. “And I’m forgiving her and I would hope that people would also pray for her.”
And in early May, Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims (D) spent nearly 10 minutes accosting a pro-life demonstrator who was praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. He even broadcast the entire encounter on Periscope, which he streamed through his Twitter account.
The confrontation that took place in Mississippi a couple weeks ago came just before a federal judge shot down the so-called “heartbeat bill,” which outlaws abortion after an embryonic heartbeat is detectable, usually around six weeks into pregnancy.
Judge Carlton Reeves issued a preliminary injunction Friday, arguing the pro-life legislation “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortions services until after six weeks.”
“By banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat,” he wrote in his decision, “the law prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”