In the wake of the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would reverse the Roe v. Wade decision if handed down, extremists have carried out acts of property destruction against pro-life organizations and have disrupted religious services.
Sunday night, a pregnancy resource center (PRC) in Manassas, Va. became another target of vandals. The First Care Women’s Health Center was defaced, with the messages “Liars,” “Fake Clinic,” and “Abortion is A Right” being spray-painted on a door and on the outer walls of the facility.
“I was in disbelief,” said Becky Sheetz, CEO of Life First, a nonprofit organization that operates the First Care Women’s Health Center that was hit with the graffiti. She noted that similar vandalism of PRCs is quite rare in the northern Virginia area where Life First operates, and that she was only aware of one other unrelated incident of vandalism to a PRC in Culpepper, Va. some time ago. Sheetz went on to say that her and local law enforcement’s assessment of the incident was that it was very likely in reaction to the impending Dobbs Supreme Court decision.
Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares condemned the vandalism. “It is never acceptable to resort to intimidation, vandalism, or destruction in our political discourse. This is what makes America so unique—we should embrace diversity of opinion and civil dialogue and debate,” he said. His office went on to state that it will be monitoring the investigation.
Did the defacement succeed in intimidating Life First? “If we were cut from a different cloth, it might succeed in shaking us up a little bit,” Sheetz said. “But we’ve been through COVID, we’ve been through fear that we were going to have to be shut down. We lived in fear of, ‘What’s the government going to do to pregnancy centers’? Are we going to be able to operate day to day? … This [incident] by comparison is very small. If the intention was intimidation, it was not successful.”
Sheetz had a clear message for anyone who would attempt to vandalize a PRC. “You’re hurting women,” she said. “You’re hurting good people who work at very meager salaries to try to do the right thing and to try to honor God. Even if you don’t believe in God, can you believe that women have a right to make a fully informed choice to talk to somebody about their pregnancy, the opportunity to see an ultrasound if they want an ultrasound, the opportunity to get an actual accurate pregnancy diagnosis before they take an abortion pill? Can we confirm that they’re pregnant before they take an abortion pill? Can we confirm that it’s not ectopic? Can we give them a bare minimum of medical care and compassion? You’re standing in the way of that. It’s counterproductive to women’s health.”
Sheetz also underscored another important but often unpopular aspect of the debate surrounding unplanned pregnancies. “[Fathers] deserve to see that baby. They deserve to be part of a pregnancy decision. [Vandals] are just standing in the way of truth.”
Sheetz went on to observe that much of the rhetoric related to the Supreme Court’s pending abortion decision is missing a key component. “Read through the yelling and the shouting and the polarizing and look at the actual facts and actual data,” she said. “The abortion pill is making so much of [the controversy surrounding the Dobbs decision] irrelevant, because she can just get that abortion pill from some other country … and terminate her pregnancy without any standard of medical care.”
What would she say to women with unplanned pregnancies who are feeling apprehensive about the pending Dobbs decision? “Please do not make the abortion clinic your first stop. Don’t make the abortion pill your first option … If you are struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, go to a pregnancy center first, get honest information [and] find out all of your options.”