A pro-life activist who was arrested twice in one week is urging others in the movement to abandon their fear of legal consequences by joining her in vowing that “we will not be silenced.”
Terrisa Bukovinac, a pro-lifer who also identifies as a liberal atheist, recently launched the Progressive Anti-Abortion Uprising and spoke about her arrests in an interview with The Christian Post. On Nov. 11, Bukovinac was arrested outside Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital for “trespassing” alongside PAAU’s Communications Director Kristin Turner, Herb Geraghty of Rehumanize International, PAAU’s Director of Activism Lauren Handy and pro-life activist Cassidy Shooltz.
“We weren’t making noise,” she recalled. “We were just handing out literature there on the campus, and they told us it was an unlawful assembly. We had … a group praying on one side, and then … the four of us were just handing out literature. It’s a public hospital and it is public property.”
Bukovinac maintained that the group of pro-lifers never entered the hospital until after they were handcuffed. She spent about an hour in custody and will likely have to appear in court in the near future.
In a statement to CP, Zuckerberg General Hospital Chief Communications Officer Brent Andrew said: “Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital is owned and operated in the public interest by the City & County of San Francisco, Department of Public Health. The hospital is, therefore, public property but it is not a public space. The campus is expressly intended for the provision of healthcare to our patients.”
“Protest activities, in particular, can interfere with our ability to provide those services, the privacy rights of our patients, and the creation and maintenance of a therapeutic environment of care. In this particular instance, our staff offered this group an alternative protest site on our campus away from patient care areas, but the group declined,” Andrew added.
Five days after her arrest in San Francisco, Bukovinac, along with Turner, Handy, Schultz and pro-life activist Joan Andrews Bell and Jonathan Darnell, were all arrested as they handed out roses to patients seeking abortions at a clinic in Alexandria, Virginia. Much like their arrests in San Francisco, Bukovinac and the other pro-lifers were arrested for “trespassing.” But she told CP that the difference between the two incidents was that "we were physically there inside the clinic handing out roses to patients.”
After spending about four to five hours in custody, Bukovinac and the other pro-life activists were released. They’re all due back in court at the beginning of December.
Bukovinac predicts they won’t face jail time but expects they’ll be ordered to pay fines. She rejoiced that despite her arrest, the pro-life activists’ outreach at the Alexandria abortion clinic led to “five people [turning] away from their abortion appointments.”
“We will not be silenced,” she vowed. “We are at a precipice now. We are so close to a victory, and it’s going to require an immense amount of bravery from those within our movement.”
Bukovinac noted that her arrest at the Alexandria abortion clinic marked the third time she has been arrested in connection to her pro-life activism: “Last year, I was also arrested at Zuckerberg for the same thing, just for being outside … the public hospital there.”
Bukovinac believes her multiple arrests outside the San Francisco hospital are because officials are “terrified of the people who work there and … [patients] who obtain healthcare there finding out that they are engaged in horrific fetal organ harvesting procedures as well as experimentation projects.”
“The hospital administrators literally [want] to silence voices of the people who are giving voice to those who are being oppressed,” she added, alleging that they are willing to “collude with law enforcement in order to force our silence through the threat of sanctions [arrest or other consequences].”
In response to an inquiry about the hospital’s abortion practices, Andrew told CP: “We are dedicated to the welfare of our patients; we provide abortions when they are appropriate to meet the specific needs of our patients.” He didn't provide comment on whether the hospital's abortion practices include the harvesting of fetal tissue or organs, or how far into a pregnancy the hospital will provide an abortion.
Bukovinac declared that she would not let any legal consequences hinder her pro-life activism. “I think that it’s important that the pro-life movement move past our fear of sanctions,” she asserted. “The abortion industrial complex is a totalitarian regime, and we must use every tool in non-violent struggle in order to resist this regime. … I’m trying to set the example for other activists to come … and let them know that they don’t need to be afraid … of sanctions.”
She also expressed a desire to “bring back the spirit of activism that used to exist within the pro-life movement.” She mentioned that Bell, one of the pro-life activists arrested in Alexandria, spent “years in solitary confinement for a rescue that she did in the '80s.” The pro-life activist concluded the interview by indicating that defeating the “abortion industrial complex” might require a similar willingness to face unknown consequences.
“I want to inspire young people and people from across the political, religious, ideological and generational spectrum to stand up to this totalitarian regime, to say no and to remember that this is the state-sanctioned murder and it will only be countered when people from every corner of society are willing to stand up, are willing to face the fear of sanctions and are willing not to let this regime silence them.”
“It is telling that when activists attempt to offer another choice to patients that the abortion industrial complex resorts to using police force to ensure they’re able to exploit vulnerable populations, disproportionately black and brown people, for their own financial gain,” she said. “The unborn children scheduled to die in these facilities, who will have their arms and legs ripped off by suction, their skulls crushed, or who will be poisoned, or even delivered alive for dissection, deserve to be rescued.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org