UPDATE: Created Equal’s role in shutting down Planned Parenthood of Fort Wayne was highlighted on the front page of the July 15th edition of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette; “Ohio Group’s ‘Project Weak Link’ Scores a Win” the sub-headline reads.
Last week, Planned Parenthood of Fort Wayne, IN closed their doors permanently. In a press conference, CEO Christie Gillespie cited efforts by Created Equal—misconstrued as “harassment and intimidation”—as influential in their inability to remain open.
While the Fort Wayne branch did not perform abrtions on site, they referred patients to other branches where the children were killed. In January of 2017, Created Equal interns and Fort Wayne residents began a campaign to expose this enabling of abortion by the Fort Wayne office. They focused their effort on the nurse practitioner providing pre-abortion counseling and referring women to other offices where the abortions were performed. The interns led a ground effort to distribute postcards within Fort Wayne to publicly exposing her role in helping to kill children. A letter was also sent to the nurse practitioner, appealing to her to cease working for Planned Parenthood and offering to stop the public awareness campaign focused on her if she were to do so.
In early February of 2017, news broke she had quit working for Planned Parenthood.
Now, in the press conference to explain this month’s permanent facility closure, PP of Indiana and Kentucky (PPINK) CEO Gillespie has explained the difficulty they faced after the nurse quit.
Referring to the public awareness efforts led by our interns, Gillespie comments, “[W]hen it’s known that there’s harassment and intimidation . . . it makes recruiting, particularly providers, very challenging.”
Further, Gillespie notes their total number of patients plummeted after the nurse quit. She comments previously they’d seen approximately 3,000 patients per year before stating, “When the intensity toward a particular provider started, and we had difficulty recruiting, that started dropping down to about 1,600 or 1,800 patients.”
While Gillespie consistently refers to Created Equal’s work as “harassment and intimidation,” when asked by journalists about the response from law enforcement to our public awareness campaign, she states, “The law regarding harassment and intimidation—it can be done very subtly, and, at times, law enforcement has their hands tied.”
In other words, law enforcement concluded the distribution of flyers did not constitute harassment or intimidation. The courts have concluded similarly, such as when Stericycle lost their lawsuit against Created Equal for alleged “intimidating and harassing conduct” causing distress. Judge Marcouiller ruled that “references to enabling ‘killing’ and even suggesting that an individual is ‘a killer’ are constitutionally protected expressions of opinion when these words are used in the context of the abortion debate,” granting Created Equal’s motion to dismiss the case.
Bringing public pressure on individuals and organizations for immoral practices is lawful and appropriate. If our neighbors insist on participating in the grisly work of killing children, their actions should be brought before the court of public opinion wherein common citizens have the ability to appeal to them to stop.
Indeed, if abortion were an innocuous medical procedure, abortionists and their enablers would thank us for the publicity our public awareness campaigns provide. But because abortion creates bloody victims, they want their actions to remain hidden.
Mark Harrington is the founder and President of Created Equal. He founded the organization in 2011 after 11 years at the Center for Bioethical Reform, envisioning the raising up of a team of young apologists. Mark has been an activist since 1993 and has worked full-time in the Pro-Life Movement since 1998.