On Saturday, an unidentified woman violently assaulted a 15-year-old girl praying and talking to women outside a Roanoke, Virginia, abortion mill. According to CBN News, police are now investigating the incident.
The Pro-Life teen, Purity Thomas, is a member of Students for Life of America. According to the group, Purity joined three students from Liberty University in a peaceful offering prayer and sidewalk counseling in front of the Roanoke Planned Parenthood early Saturday morning. The students pray on the sidewalk every Saturday, the day that particular Planned Parenthood commits abortions. The students held signs and told women entering the facility: “We’re praying for you and there are other options.”
On December 2, around 8:30 am, an unidentified woman became hostile with the Pro-Life sidewalk counselors. According to reports, she stole a sign and shouted expletive-laced threats. Then, in a violent turn, the woman approached Purity and another student and punched Purity in the face, on the left cheek below her eye. The blow was so violent, the teen stumbled and fell to the ground. Purity told CBN in a phone interview that she visited a doctor who diagnosed her with a minor concussion following the incident.
A student at the scene captured the shocking incident on video:
Kristan Hawkins, president of SFLA, said, “It’s horrific that a minor expressing love for pregnant women was targeted for violence. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident.” SFLA has been tracking violence against Pro-Life students and groups nationally and found more than 40 incidents and counting since 2012 in which anti-Life violence or school administration violated Pro-Life students’ free speech rights.
The violence Purity endured is especially egregious but is consistent with the culture of death’s uncompromising suppression of the Pro-Life message. Pro-Lifers across the country have endured attempts to silence them from peaceful and prayerful witness outside abortion mills. Planned Parenthood foments this injustice through projects like the virtual reality film Across the Line which offers a comically biased portrayal of Pro-Life sidewalk counselors as violent and offensive.
Although Pro-Lifers of all ages face the challenges of speaking in a sometimes-hostile environment, Pro-Life students are especially at risk. Many high schools and colleges embrace an anti-Life bias, and speaking the truth in the face of opposition from school administration and peers takes great courage. Remarkably, Purity said that despite her traumatic encounter, she will not let the incident stop her counseling women on the sidewalk in front of abortion mills. Her courage is an example of the commitment of young Pro-Life advocates who are coming of age with full knowledge of the truth of the Pro-Life message.
Texas Right to Life educates, supports, and encourages Pro-Life students like Purity through the Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship for College Pro-Life Leaders, Team LIFE camp for high school students, and scholarships for Pro-Life medical and law students. For more information about these life-changing programs, visit the Student Central page.