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The Pro-Life Mafia

March 13th, 2006

There is a man in North Dakota whose anti-abortion actions have clearly crossed the border from simple harassment of women entering a clinic for abortions to the truly dangerous, life-threatening kind of campaign that can only end in violence.

Martin Wishnatsky is a pro-life activist of the sort that likes to go to abortion clinics and shove bloody photos into the faces of women entering while screaming “murderer!” at them. The kind who made necessary laws that restrict such “protests,” and requiring steps like the restraining order that prevents Wishnatsky from coming within 150 of the clinic. Naturally, Wishnatsky has found another way to harass the women, a way that may be temporarily, technically legal, but which is far more dangerous and chilling.

Like some sort of fetishist, Wishnatsky now stands on street corners at the edge of the restraining order perimeter, holding a camera with a zoom lens. He takes photos of all the women who enter the clinic, and their license plates if he can get them, and then publishes those photos on a web site.

This is chilling because this is exactly the kind of intimidation technique that has led to the assassination of doctors and other clinic or hospital staff similarly identified on web sites. Posting such photos is a clear invitation to the wackos, and is equivalent to painting a big target onto these women. The whole idea of the web site is clearly to identify the women to the public–a violation of their medical privacy, not to mention personal privacy–so that people who don’t like abortion can express their disapproval to the women in the photos. There is no other purpose for the site but public exposure. And if the past has taught us anything, it has taught us that the kind of people who look up these sites all too often include the kind who intend at the least harassment of the people targeted, and at the most, violence and even murder.

While it is not wholly clear if what Wishnatsky is doing is legal, it most certainly should not be. If it is, it is a hole in the legal code that should be patched immediately. It is even more intimidating than the up-front confrontations with bloody photos and shouting, and far more insidious. If it remains legal, it will soon lead to someone getting seriously hurt or killed.

What’s more–and not that this matters too much in the big picture–Wishnatsky has not even got any way of distinguishing who is going in for an abortion and who is entering for some other purpose not related to an abortion. According to the report, he is simply taking photos and posting them indiscriminately.

Wishnatsky, by the way, does not just limit his actions to threatening women. From looking at where he’s appeared in the media and in the courts, he is pretty clearly a fanatical religious zealot. He has suggested that the deaths of a lawyer and a newspaper editor were retribution from God for these men being pro-choice. He belongs to a group called “The Lambs of Christ” in addition to “Operation Rescue,” a well-known anti-abortion action group. He has fought to make abortion equal to first-degree murder, and is involved in other litigation regarding religious statues, even what appear to be frivolous cases like charging an assistant AG with battery because the AG closed a door that Wishnatsky was entering while a private meeting was taking place. In another case, he wanted to sue the state on First Amendment grounds to have a statue of a Greek goddess removed from public property, and he sued a lawyer (PDF file) for refusing to represent him due to a busy schedule. Wishnatsky has authored a few books (such as “Mormonism: A Latter Day Deception”), and even ran for president in 2004 (he got 11 votes in total).

A visit to his web site (I will not link) is pretty disturbing. Check out this excerpt from “prose” he’s published:

If you want to live,
Then respect what we say.
Five men in black
Can lay you away.

No one can stop us.
We’re bigger than all.
We’re ruling you now,
And you’ll answer our call. …

A man that kills babies
And says I don’t care
Has a future awaiting
In hell’s fiery lair. …

And forever and ever
The smoke will arise
From the judges who served
The father of lies.

Just as disturbing is his outright misogyny, in this diatribe labeling any woman using the title “Ms.” to be a whore:

“Ms.” means Miserable Sinner
A fornicatrix by name
She is not married, nor yet still pure,
But a mere harlot, nay a whore.

You can see where he could be the type of person who would go to any lengths to punish women he disapproves of, even if it leads to his web site getting women murdered.

This guy is a predator in pious clothing, and one can only hope that either laws will be amended to outlaw his photography and publication, or at least that the scope of the restraining order is widened to prohibit this activity as well. All I can say is that if I were pro-life, I would be ashamed to have someone like this on my side of the issue.

  1. March 13th, 2006 at 14:58 | #1

    Just go take a poll at take poll on abortion issue

  2. Otoki Suicide
    May 3rd, 2006 at 13:18 | #2

    I sent this to him today.

    Mr. Wishnatsky,

    I would like to thank you. If it weren’t for your photojournalist activism, I would never have heard of the Red River Women’s clinic. I have made a 100 dollar donation to the clinic and gave you credit for it because that donation never would have happened if it hadn’t been for your website. My friends and family have also made donations.

    Have a wonderful day, and God bless.


    Otoki Suicide

  3. April 1st, 2008 at 07:52 | #3

    Can I have the website I would like I agree with what he is doing

  4. Luis
    April 1st, 2008 at 14:36 | #4

    Tammy: Seriously? Are you saying you agree with Otaki Suicide, or with Wishnatsky? If the latter, then feel free to find his site on your own, I would certainly never do anything to support such a pretentious, arrogant scumball like him.

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