Pennsylvania State Lawmaker Receives Backlash for Allegedly Harassing Elderly Anti-Abortion Protester

May 6, 2019 Updated: May 7, 2019

A Pennsylvania State lawmaker has been criticized for allegedly harassing an elderly female pro-life protestor outside a southeastern Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood clinic last week.

Democratic Rep. Brian Sims filmed and posted a video of himself confronting and repeatedly taunting a woman for nearly 9 minutes. The woman, who was holding rosary beads and a bag of pamphlets, appeared to be quietly praying on the sidewalk when Sims approached.

“Today’s protester, now she is an old white lady who is going to try to avoid showing you her face,” Sims said in the video, which was titled “Push back against Planned Parenthood protestors [sic], PLEASE! They prey on young women, they use white privilege, & shame. They’re racist, classist, bigots who NEED & DESERVE our righteous opposition. Push back, please.”

“But the same laws, luckily, that protect her from being out here also protect me from showing you who she is. And so my hope is that you’ll donate $100 for every extra hour that this woman is out here telling people what is right for their bodies,” Sims continued as the woman tried to avoid a confrontation with the lawmaker.

“Who’d have thought that an old lady would be outside a Planned Parenthood telling people what is right for their bodies. Shame on you. Shame on you for hiding your face at the same time that you’re shaming other people,” he said.

“Again the same laws that protect me, protect you. That’s okay. You’re allowed to be out here. But that doesn’t mean you have a moral right to be out here. Shame on you. What you are doing here is disgusting. This is wrong. You have no business being out here,” he added.

The state lawmaker then continued to allegedly follow and harass the woman, telling her “shame on you” for standing outside the clinic, while trying to film her face. He also mocked her about her Christian faith.

“Shame on you! Shame! Shame! There’s no faith that tells you are right and everybody else is wrong,” he said.

The woman could be seen trying to move away from Sims as he continued to follow and film her. At one point, she told the lawmaker to “get out of my way” and “get your camera out of my face” when Sims became too close to her vicinity.

Although Sims claimed that the woman was talking to everyone walking into the clinic and “shaming other people,” there was no video evidence presented of her doing that.

Sims’ video, which was posted on May 2, was viewed more than 300,000 times as of May 6. He has since received backlash for the alleged harassment, with many people describing his behavior as bullying.

“Why isn’t this banned as hate speech and racial discrimination @tedcruz?” documentary filmmaker Mike Cernovich wrote.

“Democrat state lawmaker Brian Sims (PA) harasses an elderly woman for her Christian faith, tells her not protest Planned Parenthood in public, calls her racist, asks for her address so he can show up to her home as an elected official and harass her,” Ryan Saavedra‏, reporter for the Daily Wire, wrote on Twitter.

Planned Parenthood director turned pro-life advocate Abby Johnson also called out Sims for his behavior.

“This man is a state rep!!! I seriously can’t believe the way these democratic legislators are showing their hands right now. I’ve never seen a group of people more desperate to kill children. I’m so proud of the restraint this woman showed and so disgusted by @BrianSimsPA,” Johnson wrote.

Dr. Monique Ruberu, a prominent Pennsylvania pro-life advocate, said in a statement that Sims “should not be representing anyone as he is obviously only capable of defending those that go along with his beliefs.”

“This poor woman who wanted to do nothing but stand, pray, and hand out blessing bags was verbally assaulted and badgered by a state rep,” Ruberu said.

“[W]e have loving, kind, peaceful, prayerful sidewalk servants trying to cover every hour that these places are open. We stand there… pray for the women, children, workers, and escorts… we offer help, hope, resources so that the men and women know that someone wants to help them. In the blessing bags we give a card that tells the woman she is strong, beautiful, and awesome and we want to walk with her, we offer free pregnancy tests and ultrasound, we give a pamphlet that has info on the pregnancy centers, abortion pill reversal, post-abortion healing, etc, etc… we don’t yell, scream, degrade, or belittle… but we are persecuted,” she also wrote.

It is unclear whether the woman has reported the incident to authorities. According to the Pennsylvania code, part of the definition of harassment states: “A person commits the crime of harassment when, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another, the person (2) follows the other person in or about a public place or places.”

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan
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