By Peyton Majors
Christian Action League
January 6, 2023
North Carolina pro-life leaders are encouraging their constituents to be on guard but resolute in 2023 in light of recent attacks on pro-lifers that could re-appear when the new legislature reconvenes Jan. 11.
Pro-lifers within the state experienced three high-profile attacks last year immediately before and after the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade. Abortion is expected to be an issue in the North Carolina legislature thanks to pro-life legislators increasing their majorities in both the House and Senate.
In August, a federal judge reinstated the state’s 20-week abortion ban.
A December report from the D.C.-based Family Research Council (FRC) revealed a dramatic increase in the number of documented attacks on churches in 2022, with 57 instances that “were directly tied to pro-abortion protests or contained pro-abortion messages.” By comparison, there were only five incidents of abortion-related attacks between 2019 and 2021.
“I don’t think we need to dilly-dally around here. Abortion is the most monstrous evil in American history. Slavery pales in comparison. If abortion advocates are willing to defend the murder of an innocent child, why would it surprise pro-lifers that these same people would vandalize their property and threaten them with harm?” said Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “I don’t want to be an alarmist but we have to be realistic. Should further anti-abortion measures be introduced in the 2023-24 Legislative Biennium, and I’m sure there will be, it’s going to be interesting to see who is ready, who has the courage and fortitude for a fight of this nature. I think pro-life churches, as well as other Christian-based prolife groups, need to prepare spiritually, emotionally, and even physically to lookout for what could be a coming barrage of assaults. We’re already seeing this.”
Pro-lifers in North Carolina experienced three attacks in 2022.
In June, the Mountain Area Pregnancy Services of Asheville, N.C., was defaced by abortion supporters with spray-painted messages, including “No Forced Birth” and “If Abortions Aren’t Safe, Neither Are You.” Glass also was broken. Kristi Brown, executive director of the pro-life pregnancy resource center, said at the time that the pro-life community would “not back down.”
“We will rebuild and improve and continue doing what we do,” Brown said.
The resource center continued to see clients and said it received an “outpouring of community support.”
Also in June, the North Carolina Republican Party’s headquarters was vandalized by graffiti during pro-choice protests in Raleigh. A message spray-painted on the building’s brick exterior read, “If abortion isn’t safe neither R you.”
“It is unfortunate and unacceptable that left-wing activists resort to vandalism, destruction of property, and threats of violence in response to any political views they disagree with,” the party said in a statement after the vandalism.
In October, shots were fired into a house where the children of pro-lifer and GOP congressional candidate Pat Harrigan were sleeping. The home, owned by his parents, is near a house that Harrigan owns and that was shown in campaign ads by his Democratic opponent.
Arielle Del Turco, the author of the FRC report on abortion-inspired and religious-driven attacks, said the findings are troubling. It revealed a total of 137 documented acts of hostility against churches in 2022, an increase from 83 in 2019 and 96 in 2021. Many of the attacks in 2022 were motivated by emotions over Roe, the report said.
“This is not a trend that should be shrugged off,” Del Turco said. “When churches are targeted for acts of destruction, arson, or threatening messages, it has the potential to be intimidating — and sometimes that’s the intention. Within the past few years especially, outpourings of political anger have sometimes correlated with vandalism and other acts against churches. When faced with such blatant violence and disrespect against churches (and religion more broadly), our response must be to condemn these acts and reaffirm the right of all people to worship and live out their faith freely — including the freedom to live without fear that they will be the next target of such an attack.”