Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims is the proudly liberal and outspoken lawmaker perhaps best known for his one finger salute to Mike Pence when the vice president visited his city last year.
Last week, furious over how anti-abortion activists were harassing patients trying to enter a local Planned Parenthood, Sims went to the site, turned on his camera, and started live-streaming about what one of them was doing. The woman clearly didn’t want to be on camera, but Sims argued that the same laws allowing her to publicly protest outside the building allowed him to show people who she was.
He asked her, to expected silence, “How many children have you clothed today?” He also asked how many children’s feet she put shoes on. Then he got to the point: “Have you fed any children today? Or have you just stood out in front of a Planned Parenthood, shaming people for something they have a constitutional right to do?” (He also asked how many Catholic Church she protested outside of, given how many children they’ve harmed, but she didn’t respond to that either.)
Push back against Planned Parenthood protestors, PLEASE! They prey on young women, they use white privilege, & shame. They’re racist, classist, bigots who NEED & DESERVE our righteous opposition. Push back, please! #YouAreStrongEnough https://t.co/rYQOiAhC0D
— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) May 2, 2019
The point of this is obvious: If protesters like this woman wanted to help children, as they always claim, there are a number of ways they could do it. But pro-lifers don’t give a damn about children. They just put unborn fetuses on a pedestal while missing the bigger picture.
They’re not focused on adoption, or making sure poor women have health insurance to care for their kids, or making sure kids have guaranteed educational opportunities, or making sure woman have free and easy access to birth control and contraception, or making sure kids get comprehensive sex education in school so that they don’t get pregnant when they’re not ready for a child.
The height of their activism, as this protester shows, is guilt-tripping other women for their decisions. Sims was merely pointing out the hypocrisy.
To be clear, what he was doing by putting a camera in her face was nowhere as bad as what she’s doing to women who try to enter that building. He wanted her to speak for herself; she wants to stop other women from exercising their rights. There’s no contest here.
No wonder anti-abortion activists are now screaming bloody murder over what Sims did. They want to distract from the substance by making everyone focus on the optics.
The Catholic League-of-one’s Bill Donohue wants the State House to censure him, adding that Sims “may very well belong in jail.” (That’s… not how jails work.) Another group urged members to watch how Sims “harasses” a woman who was “peacefully” protesting — which shows you how narrowly they define both words. (The protester getting in the way of a woman and her doctor is peaceful, but the man calling out her hypocrisy is a harasser.) The Illinois Family Institute called Sims an “anti-life,” “unhinged,” “feticidal,” “homosexual” whose “moral code is not derived from Scripture.” (As if we should all be pacifists like their God…)
Sims has taken all this in stride, knowing that he’s on the side of protecting women while the protester who wanting to shame patients quietly is generating plenty of sympathy from people who want to paint him as a bully.
— Brian Sims (@BrianSimsPA) May 5, 2019
Keep in mind her defenders would be saying all the same things if she were screaming at patients while holding a misleading picture of a deformed fetus. There’s no “peaceful” way to tell women they’re murderers who should give birth against their will. If you’re falling for that anti-abortion rhetoric all about how this big mean man harassed a defenseless peaceful lady, it’s because you’re completely ignoring the very real harm that only one of those people is causing.
Asking a protester in a public space to defend her actions on camera is not harassment. The rosary in her hands doesn’t change that. Her age doesn’t change that. And if she doesn’t want to talk to Sims, then maybe now she’ll find some damn sympathy for all the women who want to walk into the Planned Parenthood without her getting in the way.
It’s truly amazing to watch all these people pretend to flip out over someone supposedly harassing a woman just minding her own business… so that she can harass other women just minding their own business.