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Philadelphia holds 'Pro-Life Rally Against Bullying'

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PHILADELPHIA —  More than 1,000 people gathered in Philadelphia May 10 to demonstrate against recent social media videos of a Pennsylvania lawmaker berating people for praying outside of an abortion clinic.

The “Pro-Life Rally Against Bullying” took place in front of the Planned Parenthood facility in downtown Philadelphia where the week before, Democrat State Rep. Brian Sims had confronted pro-life demonstrators and posted two videos on social media where he asked for donations to the abortion center while offering money to viewers who could provide the identities and addresses of the activists.

Shortly after the videos emerged on social media, the national organization Live Action organized a rally in response that featured representatives from the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Family Council, 40 Days for Life, Students for Life, Sidewalk Advocates for Life, Sidewalk Servants and the Susan B. Anthony List.

Ashley Garecht, one of the women who had been confronted in Sims’ videos, drew cheers as she commended the longtime efforts of pro-life demonstrators and volunteers, noting they “are standing on the side of the angels.”

Several speakers directly addressed Sims’ claims that the pro-life advocates he had filmed were racist. Richara Krajewski of the Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia said she stood before the crowd “as a pro-life black woman.” Noting that “it’s so popular now to call out racism,” Krajewski wished to clarify that application of the term, particularly “in the context of pro-abortion politics.”

“Real racism,” she said, “is co-opting the language of liberation to advocate for the destruction of the lives of the most vulnerable. Real racism is a so-called white ally telling black and brown women that they need to choose between their dreams and their babies.”

Earlier in the week, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in a statement had encouraged people to attend the rally and “meet the hateful actions of Representative Sims with the love of Christ.” Philadelphia Auxiliary Bishop John J. McIntyre delivered a final blessing at the rally.

Some 20 patient escorts from Planned Parenthood, wearing bright yellow and pink vests, lined the sidewalk during the rally. They declined to offer comment about it to CatholicPhilly.com, the news outlet of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Stacey McMahon, visiting Philadelphia from Cape Coral, Fla., attended the rally by chance and stood against the exterior wall of the Planned Parenthood facility throughout the rally as she silently prayed for both rally attendees and the abortion facility staff.

“I prayed for a young lady who had been shielded by escorts to enter Planned Parenthood during the rally,” said McMahon, a Catholic. “I was being the hands and feet of Christ, not making myself known as any type of Christian. That’s what Christ asks you to do, to stand silently for those who need him, the vulnerable.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019