Merle Hoffman, a prominent New York abortionist, compared pro-life sidewalk counselors to the Taliban while testifying in court earlier this month, referring to their beliefs as comparable to the terror group’s “misogyny and fundamentalism.”
Hoffman, dubbed “The Millionaire Abortionist” by a 2011 Forbes article, is the CEO of Choices Women’s Medical Center in New York City. Her comments comparing pro-lifers to terrorists were brought up when she was questioned in court as part of a federal lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The Schneiderman lawsuit was filed against pro-life activists who stood outside of an abortion facility to pray with and talk to women considering abortion. Schneiderman is arguing that such actions are illegal because they “obstruct” people from entering abortion facilities.
“We’ll do what it takes to protect those rights for women across New York,” he declared. What has not been declared is why Schneiderman is seeking a bubble zone around such facilities after such zones have been ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
During the court hearings about this suit, lawyers representing the majority of the pro-life defendants questioned Hoffman over her public references to pro-life advocates as the “American Taliban” and “bullies.” It was at this point that Hoffman decided to draw parallels between the pro-life advocates and the misogynistic fundamentalism of the Taliban.
“What I see outside,” stated Hoffman while referring to pro-life activists outside of her clinic, “I see that as a type of terrorism, yes, a type of terrorism toward the patients, definitely.”
The attorney general alleges that clients entering Hoffman’s clinic have been harassed and groped by protestors standing outside. Hoffman stated that she has heard such protestors were “out of control.”
The judge on the case, District Judge Carol Bagley Amon, supported the side of the pro-lifers last week, referring to leafleting (the distribution of materials on a sidewalk) as a “form of really protected speech.” Amon went on to state that sidewalks are recognized as “quintessential public forum.”
Hoffman, 71, has been performing abortions since 1971 — two years before the Roe v. Wade ruling. The for-profit abortion facility she runs is reported to have seen 50,000 people in 2016, bringing in $10 million in revenue for the year.
Although the case is likely to last a few more weeks, it is starting to look optimistic for the pro-life defense.
Photo credit: Anna Levinzon via Flickr, CC BY 2.0