Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims live streamed himself harassing a woman praying the rosary outside of a Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia. In the video, Sims repeatedly calls the woman an “old white lady” and demands she go pray at home.
Sims tells his target that she has no right to be “shaming” people for doing what they “have a constitutional right to do.” “You have no business being out here,” he told her, implying that the “old white woman’s” constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful assembly aren’t as important as the “right” to an abortion.
Sims follows the woman as she paces back and forth, accusing her over and again for shaming. Ironically, Sims doesn’t consider his publicized tirade and verbal assault shaming, only her peaceful protest.
After four straight minutes, the woman asks Sims to stop. He says, “no” and then suggests that protesters target her home. A few days later Sims tweeted, “Bring it, Bible Bullies! You are bigots, sexists, and misogynists and I see right through your fake morals and your broken values.”
Though Sims offered a meager, “I could do better” apology, thousands of pro-life women and men showed up last Friday at the same location to let Brian Sims know that what he did was not okay.
But what struck me about the whole encounter is how Sims singled out this woman because of her age and race. He seems to believe that “old white ladies” shouldn’t have an opinion on abortion. While many abortion rights activists prefer to categorize abortion as a women’s rights issue, Sims infers that there are certain categories of women who shouldn’t have a say. (Unless, one can assume, their opinion agrees with his.)
Is abortion an issue only young women should care about? Or, is this about race? Sims doesn’t clarify, but it’s clear from his rant that both her age and race angered him. I wonder how it’s more acceptable that Sims—an openly gay, white man—has strong opinions on the issue?
What Brian Sims misses is how abortion is an issue that impacts people regardless of their age, race, or gender.
Before Roe v. Wade, abortion activists made the case that abortion would be good for society. It would be “beneficial for women,” they claimed. It would “empower them and give them equality.”
But now, almost five decades later, it’s clear that abortion didn’t deliver on its promises.
Sex-selective abortion and infanticide have taken the lives of more than 117 million baby girls worldwide leading to what some call a growing “gendercide.”
Maybe the “old white woman” stood outside the clinic because of a choice she regretted making decades earlier. Did she lose a grandchild, or watch friends walk through the painful aftermath of abortion? Statistically speaking, her connection to the issue could be personal.
Or, perhaps, the “old white woman” just has a heart that’s burdened for women who face unplanned pregnancies and the unborn. Who is Rep. Brian Sims to tell her she shouldn’t? Protecting the lives of the unborn is an issue that should transcend both age and race.
What Sims did to this woman was wrong. But, instead of protesting Brian Sims, why not pray for him? Let’s pray that God will soften his heart and show him his truth. Perhaps God will use this incident to show Sims that Christians aren’t “Bible bullies,” just broken people saved by grace who long to see God’s kingdom come.