Abortion and the news

As I was reading abortion news in Mother Jones and LifeNews.com recently, it occurred to me that most of the news -- and I'm not even counting opinion -- that I consume regarding sanctity of life issues comes from outside the mainstream media. It's obviously a bigger problem on the pro-life side of things. I was shocked to learn last week, for instance, that NBC has still not reported on the Planned Parenthood sting videos. The media more or less ignored the amazing updates coming out of the Philadelphia abortion doctor murder case. So when I read that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had arrested abortion rights supporter Theodore Shulman and charged him with making threats against pro-life advocates, I expected that this news wouldn't be reported.

But religion reporter David Gibson over at Politics Daily did report it. And he actually filled his report with information I hadn't seen before:

The FBI in New York has reportedly arrested Theodore Shulman, a radical abortion rights campaigner with a long history of threatening pro-life activists, and charged him with making interstate threats against two abortion opponents who were not identified.

The 49-year-old Shulman was arrested on Thursday and was being held without bond at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, according to pro-life activists who were alerted to Shulman's incarceration by federal investigators. An officer at the correctional center referred a calls about inmates to the public relations office, which is closed over the weekend.

"This is a huge relief to us that Ted Shulman is behind bars where he belongs," Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue, a prominent anti-abortion organization, said in a story on the group's website. "He often posted threatening comments to our website and called me on my cell phone too many times to count."

Sullenger was not one of the two targets listed in the federal complaint, which has apparently been sealed (the FBI did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday). But she and a number of prominent abortion opponents and conservative activists -- including blogger Jill Stanek, Princeton political philosopher Robert P. George, Father Frank Pavone from Priests for Life, Bryan Kemper of Stand True Ministries, and scientist and pro-life activist Gerard Nadal -- have been frequent targets of Shulman's rants.

Gibson notes that most stories about violence or threats regarding abortion (I think he means abortion politics) come from "anti-abortion extremists" rather than "radicals in the abortion rights camp." But, he notes, this case is unusual for more reasons, too:

His mother is Alix Kates Shulman, a feminist author and political activist who first achieved notoriety in 1972 for her novel "Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen," which drew wide coverage for its frank depiction of the sexual experiences of a young Midwestern woman who -- like Alix Shulman -- went off to college in the East. Shulman has spoken of having four abortions, "and not one was the result of carelessness." According to Jill Stanek, Ted Shulman has said two of his mother's abortions were before his birth and two were after.

For whatever reasons, Theodore Shulman -- who goes by Ted -- seemed to fixate on the issue of abortion rights and defined his activism by fierce and often extreme verbal attacks on pro-lifers that often threatened them with a violent end. He liked to allude to himself as the "first pro-choice terrorist" and started a blog called "Operation Counterstrike."

We learn that he posted comments on pro-life nurse Jill Stanek's web site where he said he was looking forward to watching a documentary about her assassination. We learn he called an employee at Operation Rescue to tell her she was going to be killed soon. And we learn that Operation Rescue says the threats against the group have increased after Rachel Maddow began criticizing them a few weeks ago.

Anyway, while the story is awful, it's nice to learn so much about something abortion related from a religion reporter outside of the pro-life or pro-choice press.

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