TIME Congress

Pro-Life Congressman Explains Why He’s Now Pro-Choice

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks at a news conference in Washington on Feb. 14, 2007.
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, speaks at a news conference in Washington on Feb. 14, 2007. Susan Walsh—AP

Ryan says talking to women helped change his mind

Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan has officially changed his stance on abortion—from pro-life to pro-choice.

Ryan, who has been serving in the House of Representatives since 2003, says he has self-identified as pro-life for the majority of his political career, having being raised Catholic. But the Ohio representative wrote in an op-ed published by the Akron Beacon Journal on Wednesday that his conversations with women across Ohio and the country about the myriad reasons that lead them to have an abortion led him to change his mind.

“These women gave me a better understanding of how complex and difficult certain situations can become. And while there are people of good conscience on both sides of this argument, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: the heavy hand of government must not make this decision for women and families,” Ryan writes.

Ryan goes on to say, “each and every American deserves the right to deal with these difficult situations in consultation with their families, close friends, or religious advisers.”

The op-ed comes nearly a week after some Republican women in the House of Representatives stopped a vote on an anti-abortion bill because of language included in it that would have but restrictions on women seeking to end pregnancies that resulted from rape. A vote on that bill was scheduled for Jan. 22, the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, Roe v. Wade.

As recently as 2009 Ryan trumpeted his record on pro-life legislation, while promoting a bill that would reduce unintended pregnancies in an effort to find common ground among pro-choice and pro-life communities. In 2013, Ryan opposed a ban on abortions after 20-weeks, saying it was “dangerous in its implications.” Douglas Johnson of National Right to Life Committee, a leading pro-life organization, calls Ryan a “pro-life impersonator” and notes he’s never consistently voted pro-life—according to the organization’s scorecard, he’s voted “against” them more times than he has for them throughout his time in office.

“This is dog-bites-man from my perspective,” Johnson tells TIME.

Yet given his past self-identification as pro-life, Ryan’s stance is now abundantly clear. “I am a 41-year-old father and husband whose feelings on this issue have changed. I have come a long way since being a single, 26-year-old state senator, and I am not afraid to say that my position has evolved as my experiences have broadened, deepened and become more personal. And while I have deep respect for people on both sides of this conversation, I would be abandoning my own conscience and judgment if I held a position that I no longer believed appropriate,” he writes

Women’s health organization Planned Parenthood has lauded Ryan’s pivot on the divisive issue saying in a statement that they look forward to working with him.

“Congressman Ryan joins the overwhelming majority of Americans who want women to have access to abortion and don’t want politicians to interfere in women’s personal medical decisions,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a statement.

Read next: Mormon Church Supports LGBT Protections in Shift

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME health

Was Iceland Really the First Nation to Legalize Abortion?

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Satellite image of Iceland Planet Observer / Getty Images / Universal Images Group

The oft-cited law was passed 80 years ago, on Jan. 28, 1935

Ask the Internet which country was the first to legalize abortion and you’re likely to find some confusing answers, many of which point in one direction: Iceland.

It’s true that, 80 years ago, on Jan. 28 of 1935, Iceland’s “Law No. 38″ declared that the mother’s health and “domestic conditions” may be taken into consideration when considering whether to permit doctors to perform an abortion. And, according to the 1977 book Abortion by Malcolm Potts, Peter Diggory and John Peel, that law stuck for decades.

However, there are a lot of caveats to that “first” label. For one thing, abortion spent centuries as neither illegal nor legal, before becoming formally legislated, which happened in the 19th century in many places. Iceland, then, was the first Western nation to create what we might now recognize as a common modern abortion legalization policy, with a set of conditions making the procedure not impossible but not entirely unregulated.

Some other nations that passed abortion laws before Iceland’s (like Mexico, for example) also included conditions, like rape, under which it would be permitted. And, as Robertson’s Book of Firsts clarifies, the Soviet Union had actually legalized abortion, on demand, more than a decade earlier. The difference was that (a) the Soviet law didn’t last, as that nation underwent a series of regime changes, and (b) the conditions for legality were different. Though abortion was later strictly limited in Russia, legalization was apparently no small thing when it was first introduced.

As TIME reported on Feb. 17, 1936:

A not entirely enthusiastic participant last week was Dictator Joseph Stalin at the celebration by massed Communist delegations from all over Russia of the tenth anniversary of the founding in Moscow of the Union of the Militant Godless. This unprecedented Jubilee of Godlessness could only be compared to that celebrated by Bolsheviks in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Legalization in Russia of Abortion.

TIME Congress

House GOP Pulls Anti-Abortion Bill on Roe v. Wade Anniversary

The House Republican leadership reversed course on plans to vote on an anti-abortion bill deemed too restrictive by many female lawmakers in its conference, exposing internal party divisions as activists mark the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade with the March for Life.

The bill—the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act—would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy. Even though a similar bill was passed two years ago, Republican lawmakers raised concerns that this bill included a controversial clause requiring that a woman had to report the rape to police before she could get an abortion. The House will now hold another symbolic vote on a different, old bill that bans taxpayer funding of abortions.

“The reporting requirements I think were problematic,” said Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler, who met with House GOP Whip Steve Scalise to air out her concerns this week. “Statistics show that a lot of women who are raped do not report it.”

Hartzler said she hoped that the bill would come back up with altered language that could garner more support. It’s unclear whether or not the current bill could have passed.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has opposed similar legislative proposals based on fetal pain as “not based on sound science.” The bill would be aimed at a minority of abortions, since 92 percent are performed within the first 13 weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Conservatives supported the bill in its entirety and expect the leadership to bring it back in some form. Susan B. Anthony List, the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, and Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee officials said they were “disappointed” that there wouldn’t be a vote and would work with the House GOP leadership “to ensure the maximum number of votes” in the future. Conservative RedState activist Erick Erickson called Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, a key figure in opposing the bill’s rape reporting language, the “GOP’s Abortion Barbie.”

“There was a lot of discussion in our retreat [last week] about this and some of the new people did not want to make this the first bill they voted on because the millennials have a little bit of a different take on it,” said Republican Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida. “But you will see it come back because the American people agree with it two to one. It’s a hideous practice. It needs to stop.”

The conservatives’ confidence that the bill will be resurrected would disappoint Democrats like Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio, who said that now there is “some grain of hope that the Republican leadership is no longer going to be totally constrained by the wishes of their right-wing friends.”

Other Democrats said the abortion issue plays directly into their “war on women” narrative.

“It’s almost as though they’re creating the strategy for us, bringing up these bills,” New York Rep. Joseph Crowley, vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus told the Hill.

“In contrast to talking about job creation and bigger paychecks, they’re putting a bill on the floor that undermines the health of of America’s women,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in a press conference Thursday. “The bill is worse than the bill they pulled from the floor yesterday. That affected thousands of women, maybe, this affects millions of women. It not only affects their health, it affects the personal decisions of how they spend their own money on health insurance.”

Moderate Republicans such as Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent agreed with Pelosi that the GOP should be talking about pocketbook issues instead.

“I would prefer that our party spend less time focusing on these very contentious social issues because that distracts us from broader economic messages where I think we have a much greater appeal to the larger public,” he said.

TIME Supreme Court

‘A Stunning Approval for Abortion': Roe v. Wade Reactions

Anti-Abortion Rally 1973
An anti-abortion rally in New York City on July 10, 1973, Gamma-Keystone / Getty Images

The Supreme Court case was decided on this day in 1973

What happened to Jane Roe was, at the time, nothing special.

She wanted an abortion and couldn’t get one. So, like many others, she had a child and gave him up for adoption. But then she did something that was unusual: she sued. The case that bears her name, Roe v. Wade, was decided on this day, Jan. 22, in 1973. As TIME reported in the Feb. 5 issue of that year, under the headline “A Stunning Approval for Abortion”:

Soon after her illegitimate son was born two years ago, “Jane Roe,” a divorced Dallas bar waitress, put him up for adoption. At almost the same time, “Mary Doe,” an Atlanta housewife, bore a child who was also promptly adopted. Both women had asked for abortions and, like thousands of others, they had been turned down. Unlike most of the others, though, Roe and Doe went to court to attack the state statutes that frustrated them. The resulting legal fights took too long for either woman to get any practical benefit. But last week they had the satisfaction of hearing the Supreme Court read their pseudonyms into the annals of constitutional law. By a surprising majority of 7 to 2, the court ruled that Roe and Doe had won one of the nation’s most fiercely fought legal battles. Thanks to the Texas waitress and the poverty-stricken Georgia housewife, every woman in the U.S. now has the same right to an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy as she has to any other minor surgery.

The ruling, the story continued, was “bold and uncompromising.” Even states that already had few restrictions on abortion would have to make their laws more lax (by, for example, eliminating residency requirements). From that point, abortion during the first trimester would be off-limits to government intervention; after that, the state could make certain regulations but, until the fetus became viable, could not prevent the procedure from happening.

The reasoning, as described in an opinion by Justice Harry Blackmun, was traced to the right of privacy, which he held had become part of the liberty protected by the 14th Amendment. A fetus, Blackmun continued, was not a person and thus has no rights that can run counter to the right to privacy. Further, he took into consideration that many of the U.S. statutes restricting abortion had been written when the procedure was much more dangerous to undertake. The opinion was careful to say that states and doctors were under no obligation to perform abortions, but rather that they not make it illegal for those who would otherwise perform the procedures to do so.

But, even from the first, it was clear that Blackmun’s surety was not echoed nationwide.

Not only did two of his fellow justices disagree, but anti-abortion advocates nationwide also spoke up with their unhappiness about the decision. Protests and angry statements were quick to come, and one group even urged excommunication of Justice Brennan, the court’s resident Catholic. Others lobbied for a constitutional amendment that would force the decision into obsolescence. “No one can predict how successful such an effort would be, but obviously the abortion decision, like those on school prayer, desegregation and criminal rights, has once again brought the court under heated criticism,” TIME commented, noting that a poll taken right before the decision revealed that eliminating first-trimester restrictions was favored among Americans by only a single percentage point more than the opposition. “Such a close division of sentiment can only ensure that while the matter has been settled legally,” the piece continued, “it remains a lightning rod for intense national debate.”

Read the full 1973 story here in the TIME Vault: A Stunning Approval for Abortion

TIME abortion

House GOP Abruptly Drops Plans to Debate Abortion Bill

On the eve of anniversary of 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — In an embarrassing setback, House Republicans abruptly decided Wednesday to drop planned debate of a bill criminalizing virtually all late-term abortions after objections from GOP women and other lawmakers left them short of votes.

The decision came on the eve of the annual March for Life, when thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators stream to Washington to mark the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. It also came with GOP leaders eager to show unity and an ability by the new Republican-led Congress to govern efficiently.

Despite a White House veto threat, Republican leaders had planned on Thursday House passage of the legislation, which would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

But they ran into objections from women and other Republican lawmakers unhappy that the measure limited exemptions for victims of rape or incest to only those who had previously reported those incidents to authorities.

The rebellious lawmakers argued that that would put unfair pressure on women who often feel shame or fear retaliation if they report those assaults.

In a complication GOP leaders were not able to resolve, they then ran into objections from anti-abortion groups and lawmakers when they discussed eliminating the reporting requirements.

House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas, said leaders made the decision after meeting “really, all day” with rank-and-file lawmakers.

Congressional Democrats who solidly oppose the legislation, along with abortion rights advocates, all but mocked the GOP’s problem. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said Republicans suffered “a meltdown.”

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said of the bill, “These attacks are so dangerous, extreme and unpopular that House Republicans can’t even get their membership lined up behind them.”

Instead of the late-term abortion bill, the House will debate legislation Thursday banning taxpayer funding for abortion — a prohibition that is already largely in effect.

Though Republicans hadn’t ruled out dropping the bill, their turnabout came as a surprise.

Earlier in the evening, one leading GOP dissident said she would support the bill, suggesting that the revolt might be ebbing. In a posting on her Facebook page, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C., added, “I have and will continue to be a strong defender of the prolife community.”

Earlier Wednesday, Ellmers said she and other Republicans were objecting to the reporting requirement.

“The issue becomes, we’re questioning the woman’s word,” she said in an interview. “We have to be compassionate to women when they’re in a crisis situation.”

A 2013 Justice Department report calculated that just 35 percent of rapes and sexual assaults were reported to police.

There were also objections to the bill’s exemption for incest, which covered only minors who have already reported the incident.

“So the exception would apply to a 16-year-old but not a 19-year-old?” said Rep. Charles Dent, R-Pa. “I mean, incest is incest.”

The divisiveness over the measure comes as Republicans, looking ahead to the 2016 presidential and congressional elections, hope to increase their support from women. In control of the entire Congress for the first time in eight years, Republicans also want to demonstrate they can focus on issues that matter to voters and not get bogged down in gridlock.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., a chief sponsor of the bill, called it “a sincere effort” to protect women and “their unborn, pain-capable child from the atrocity of late-term abortion.” He also said GOP leaders “want to try to create as much unity as we can.”

The White House has threatened to veto the legislation, calling it “an assault on a woman’s right to choose.”

A report this week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office cited estimates by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that about 10,000 abortions in the U.S. are performed annually 20 weeks or later into pregnancies. The budget office estimated that if the bill became law, three-fourths of those abortions would end up occurring before the 20th week.

The House approved a similar version of the bill in 2013, but the measure was never considered in the Senate, which was then controlled by Democrats. Its fate remains uncertain in the Senate, where anti-abortion sentiment is less strong than in the House.

TIME Crime

How an Abortion-Clinic Shooting Led to a ‘Wrongful Life’ Lawsuit

John C. Salvi, 3rd (R)
John C. Salvi, 3rd (R) speaks with his lawyer J. W. Carney during the Brookline District Court hearing where Salvi pleaded innocent to murder charges, in Brookline, Mass. AFP/Getty Images

Dec. 30, 1994: John Salvi goes on a shooting rampage at two Massachusetts abortion clinics, killing two people and wounding five others

At a time when antiabortion violence had become disconcertingly common, John Salvi put a grim face on the epidemic. On this day 20 years ago — Dec. 30, 1994 — the 22-year-old New Hampshire hairdresser who’d plastered a picture of a fetus on his pickup truck walked into a Brookline, Mass., Planned Parenthood clinic and sprayed the waiting room with gunfire. Then he did it again, at another abortion clinic two miles away.

A beauty school classmate described Salvi in the way we often hear people described after they commit mass violence: quiet, emotionless, off. But a week before the shootings, something triggered his rage, according to his boss at the Eccentric Beauty Salon, where he worked as a trainee: not a debate over reproductive rights, but being told he wasn’t ready to cut a client’s hair.

The day after the Brookline shootings, Salvi was arrested when he opened fire at a clinic in Norfolk, Va. In total, he killed two people, wounded five and terrified abortion providers and their patients across the country.

Among the terrified was a woman named Deborah Gaines, who had been awaiting her appointment in one of the Brookline clinics when Salvi started shooting. He killed the receptionist and shot a patient administrator, then chased Gaines and others who fled the building, firing as he followed. Gaines escaped with her life — but so did her unborn daughter.

Gaines was so distraught after the shooting that she couldn’t bring herself to return for another appointment, according to the Washington Post‘s DeNeen L. Brown, and she ultimately carried the baby to term. She later sued the clinic for between $100,000 and $500,000 to help raise the child in a controversial “wrongful life” case, which was settled out of court. Her attorney argued that the clinic should have had tighter security measures in place, given the increasing outbreaks of violence against abortion providers. Since they hadn’t, he said, Gaines had been denied her right to terminate her pregnancy.

Meanwhile, some in the pro-life community argued that the birth of Gaines’ daughter was the silver lining to the tragedy. A handful even argued that Salvi, who committed suicide in prison in 1996 while serving two consecutive life terms, could be considered a hero for ensuring that the child was born.

But Gaines, a single mother who had three other children and was receiving public assistance when she made the abortion appointment, didn’t see it that way, according to Brown.

“I know ignorant people out there are going to say if it weren’t for John Salvi, this baby wouldn’t be here,” Gaines told the Post reporter. “But this does not make him a hero.”

Read TIME’s original coverage of the shootings, here in the archives: An Armed Fanatic Raises the Stakes

TIME Health Care

Utah’s Abortion Rate Is at Its Lowest Ever

Restrictive abortion laws, economics and the increased availability of contraceptives could all be behind the trend

Utah’s abortion rate has dropped to its lowest ever since the state began keeping records in 1975.

The number of women in Utah who had an abortion in 2013 was 2,893, that is 4.6 women in every 1,000, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Utah’s abortion statistics have been in decline from a high of 11.1 per 1,000 in 1980.

Several reasons could be behind the downward trend. There are more restrictive abortion laws in the state — including one that imposes a waiting period of 72 hours.

But Laurie Baksh from Utah’s Department of Health cites economics as a possible reason for lower abortions, saying people are thinking about the financial realities of raising a child.

[Salt Lake Tribune]

TIME women

Why Model Robyn Lawley Is a Role Model for Considering Abortion

woman-looking-sky
Getty Images

Celebrity pregnancy announcements normally reinforce the idea that motherhood is a woman’s true calling

xojane

We all want to make choices for ourselves. Most women, however, are not afforded that luxury, as every choice, from wardrobe to reproduction, becomes a topic of public discussion.

The scrutiny is multiplied beyond my mathematical comprehension when the woman in question is a celebrity. Looks and decisions are meticulously dissected every time she “steps out” or “flaunts” or “shows off” before image-hungry cameras. One of the tabloid’s favorite pastimes is “womb watch,” guessing which celebrity is pregnant, or has perhaps eaten a large lunch, before wondering when certain celebrities like Jennifer Aniston or Cameron Diaz are planning on children as they’re deemed to be running out of time.

Every celebrity pregnancy announcement is filled with positivity.

We’re told of the immense joy and blessing that pregnancy is, reinforcing the idea that motherhood is a woman’s true calling. Reality often doesn’t look like that, as not every pregnancy is planned and wanted and some women may feel worried or ambivalent about the prospect of children overall.

That’s why Australian model Robyn Lawley’s decision to share her thoughts about an accidental pregnancy is so important to the overall narrative surrounding pregnancy.

Lawley is a 25-year-old pro-choice feminist and successful “plus-size” model who has worked for many mainstream brands like Ralph Lauren so it’s safe to assume that she has financial security; she’s also engaged and has previously discussed having children with her partner. In many ways she is in the best position to have a baby. Nevertheless, Lawley, like many women the world over, had many things to consider before continuing with her pregnancy.

In a recent interview, she revealed: “As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I had to take all options into account, because with a baby, I’ll have to majorly slow down — and I’m very career-driven. That scared me. The reality is many women face a plethora of factors when considering whether to have an abortion. My case is no different.”

It’s very reassuring to hear such a rational and calm consideration of abortion without the hyperbolic discussion of personal tragedy and torment that seem to make up the permissible “good abortion” accounts. That’s not to say that sometimes one account is wrong or better than another but only one is allowed to exist without pro-lifers (anti-choicers, really) reaching for their pitchforks.

Lawley openly acknowledged that one of her biggest worries about pregnancy stemmed from the effects it has on the body saying “one of the biggest [fears] for me was related to my career, which necessarily and perhaps unfortunately relates, at least in part, to my body image.”

Unsurprisingly, the comments on the Daily Mail article, now no longer to be found, called her selfish for worrying about her body and denouncing women in general for not valuing human life. What those commenters fail to consider, besides basic human compassion, is the possible difficulty of returning to work after having a child or affording childcare. Once again, the child’s life is only considered while in utero and the woman is a mere vessel, not a person with life goals beyond children.

What’s most interesting to me about this story is Lawley’s ultimate decision to keep the baby.

No, it’s not in itself shocking, but had she not chosen to disclose the deliberation regarding an abortion, we would never have known. It makes me wonder how many celebrities — and even acquaintances — go through a similar process, later to either announce the joyful pregnancy news or simply keep silent about their decisions.

When Lawley was considering termination she said: “I thought it’d be so easy! I’d just walk in there, and it’d be done so quickly, but then I called them and heard the process and thought this is a serious, full-on thing. I decided then that I wanted to keep the baby.”

I begin to wonder who exactly the “them” in this instance represents because it seems like she wasn’t given the correct information unless her pregnancy was already well under way. Of course, abortion is a medical procedure with associated risks, though it has been found by researchers at University of California, San Francisco in a recent study to be as safe as a colonoscopy with nearly all of the procedures being performed at a doctor’s office or an outpatient clinic — not a hospital. This research would suggest that abortion is actually not a “full-on thing” but a minor and extremely safe procedure.

All this aside, Lawley has made the right choice because it’s the choice that she and she alone is making.

I, personally, am thankful to her for revealing her decision-making process, adding another rational voice to a discussion that often gets seized by individuals with ill intentions and misinformation. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, women will be able to speak openly about such decisions in public without inspiring murderous rage from people who want to police women’s private lives and bodies.

Zhenya Tsenzharyk is a writer and student in London. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Healthcare

Abortion Complication Rates Are ‘Lower Than That For Wisdom Tooth Extraction’, Study Says

People who get abortions are less likely to have complications than people who have their wisdom teeth removed, finds a new study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Researchers at University of California San Francisco wanted to understand, from a medical standpoint, the safety of abortions, so they analyzed 54,911 of them performed from 2009-2010 on women, as well as the health care services the women received in the six weeks following the abortion.

Of those abortions, only 2.1% resulted in a complication—considerably lower than the 7% complication rate for wisdom tooth removal and 9% rate for tonsillectomy, the authors point out. Major complications that required hospitalization, surgery or a blood transfusion occurred in only 0.23% of the women in the study—126 cases. That’s lower than the rate of major complications for colonoscopy, says study author Ushma Upadhyay, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at UCSF.

Fewer than 2% of abortions resulted in a minor complication. Medication abortions—a sequence often called the “abortion pill“—had the highest rate of complications at 5.2%, “the vast majority of which were minor and expected,” the study authors write. Those minor complications often mean they come back for another dose to complete the abortion.

According to the study, 23 states now have regulations that an abortion clinic must meet standards for ambulatory surgical centers. 8 states have hospital transfer agreement requirements, and 13 require hospital admitting privileges. The typical explanation for these regulations has been that safety is a factor, but the researchers hope to remove that as an issue. “Across the country, there are a record number of restrictions against abortions,” Upadhyay says. “I think basically that they’re supported by the public because they seem like they are needed”—but abortion providers sometimes can’t get admitting privileges, so abortion clinics often end up being shuttered, she says. “I hope [the data] clarifies that abortion is a safe procedure, and that it’s not this scary procedure it can be made out to be in the media or public policy,”

TIME viral

Watch a Pregnant Woman Confront Anti-Abortion Demonstrators Outside a London Clinic

“You’re standing out here making people feel guilty. I think this is wrong on so many levels.”

A pregnant woman’s passionate diatribe against anti-abortion protesters outside a London health center that offers abortions has gone viral.

“You’re standing out here making people feel guilty,” the unidentified woman can be heard telling members of British pro-life group Abort67 on the video, which has racked up 140,000 views in the 24 hours after being posted Wednesday. “I think this is wrong on so many levels.”

Her occasionally profane speech, which begins about a minute into the video, was captured by journalist and activist Sunny Hundal. Hundal has covered Abort67 in the past, and tells TIME that he went to the clinic with the intention of showing women being intimidated by protestors:

“I was walking over to confront them about their use of video cameras, [to document who goes into the clinic] when I saw [the pregnant woman] standing by and then she started criticizing them, at which point I let her speak her mind. She did a far better job of showing their hypocrisy than I could have.”

In the video the woman, who has a very visible baby bump, objects to the protesters “judging and filming” women going in and out of the clinic, accusing them of potentially traumatizing victims of abuse by showing graphic images of fetuses. “Many people have been abused, you don’t know what their reasons are for,” she said.

Abort67 posted a response to the filming on its Facebook page:

In the video, an Abort67 activist said that the cameras weren’t used to identify patients at the clinic but rather to gather evidence to counter claims that they use harassment tactics during protests. The group also told BuzzFeed:

Suggesting that we are harassing and intimidating women when there is no actual harassment or intimidation occurring is misogynistic. It suggests that women are inherently too weak to be fully informed about abortion. If harassment were occurring, the police who keenly observe us at our invitation, would arrest us.

Sunny seems to miss the irony of filming us outside the clinic whilst he vilifies us for filming ourselves outside a clinic.

 

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