Is murdered anti-choice activist a martyr?
by Thúy-Lan Võ Lite
I have a few updates on the case of slain anti-abortion activist James Pouillon, who was killed in front of a school on September 11 in Owassa, Michigan.
A brief post on Jezebel informed me that two Congressmen – Reps. Dave Camp and Dale Kildee – from Pouillon’s home state introduced a resolution to honor the late protestor: House Resolution 759 (available on Camp’s website), after noting that “Jim Pouillon is mourned by his family, friends, community, and fellow defenders of the First Amendment and the unborn,” offers condolences to the victim’s family and recognizes the importance of free speech.
The resolution has been introduced amid an ongoing debate over Pouillon’s posthumous martyrization. Anti-choice leaders note that he was killed on the job, or “gunned down as he stood for life” (Operation Rescue), but it’s misleading to conclude that his victimization was a direct result of his ideology. According to Flint News, “[a]uthorities have said Harlan Drake, 33, of Owosso had a grudge against Pouillon and didn't think that children should have to look at graphic pictures of abortion on their way to school.”
The article continues: “Shiawassee County Prosecutor Randy Colbry says he doesn't have any information that the abortion issue was the motivation for the slaying, saying that it is not his impression that the shooting was a hate crime or politically motivated.” Keep in mind that Drake had killed another man earlier in the day based on a completely unrelated “grudge.”
Dr. James M. Pouillon – the late activist’s son – had some interesting opinions of his own, which he wrote in a blog post (via Flint) a few days after the murder. Asserting that his father “really didn’t care about aborton (sic),” he noted that “He did this [protesting] to stalk, harass, terrorize, scream at, threaten, frighten, and verbally abuse women. He had a pathologic hatred of women: his mom, my mom, everyone.”
But whether or not Pouillon, Sr. was killed for his stance or for his persistent, disrespectful methods remains up in the air; it’s definitely too soon for anti-choice leaders to galvanize support in his name.