In a story that made national news, albeit mostly in the Catholic press, a high school student in New Jersey is suing her school district for failing to protect her when she showed a pro-life sign at a great big pro-abortion rally.
The National Catholic Register reported that, on May 24, on campus during school hours, Nichole Pagano, a 16-year-old at Hunterdon Central Regional High School, in the company of her older sister Vanessa, witnessed a horde of 200 schoolmates gathering to demonstrate in favor of child-killing. Not wishing to see the child in the womb go undefended, the pro-life sisters organized a spontaneous counter-protest of two. Nichole was walking in the very midst of the pro-aborts with a sign that read: “Equal Rights for Babies in the Womb.”
As we at the Life Legal Defense Foundation are well aware, abortion advocates rarely acknowledge the legitimacy of other points of view.
Pro-abortion students assaulted the girl with the sign, the one who had dared to commit the crime of individual thought. They surrounded the two sisters, screamed crude and intimidating comments, grabbed the girl and her sign, pulled her to the ground, and generally made it violently known that alternate visions would not be tolerated.
The only one to stick up for Nicole was her sister. School officials who stood by did absolutely nothing to prevent or restrain the attack.
Nichole emerged with scratches on her arms and legs and a wrenched shoulder. School officials later apologized to the victim of pro-abortion intolerance, but it was the sort of apology that shrugs off responsibility rather than accepting it.
So now Nichole is suing the district — which is exactly the right thing to do. It might be a tremendous exercise in Christian endurance to let the matter go unanswered, except that it would condemn future pro-life students in the district to a choice between silence and beatings. In the long run, it would also condemn the helpless babies destined for butchery to go undefended.
There are some lessons to be learned from this incident.
(1) Pro-life students are some of the bravest people around. Remember: this was two against 200 — but Vanessa and Nichole didn’t even hesitate. They went boldly forth and bore witness to a truth that the backers of baby-killing just didn’t want to hear. What happened to Nichole may be very bad news, but the courage of the Pagano sisters is the best news pro-lifers could possibly receive. Our movement does indeed have a future.
(2) The old rules of civil discourse and mutual respect have been thrown down and danced upon by the other side and by most of the elders of officialdom. If pro-lifers speak out as they must, pro-aborts will try to silence them. As you and I know, the urgency of these repressive efforts proceeds from an inability to defend the pro-abortion mindset.
(3) Pro-life heroes like Vanessa and Nichole don’t have to put up with suppression. There are solutions. And legal action is a great solution in circumstances such as these.
Life Legal has long been involved in defending pro-lifers on high school and college campuses. Back in 2014, we sued the University of California after a pro-abortion professor committed grand theft, vandalism, and battery against pro-life campus missionaries, and the high-powered educational institution was forced to reach a settlement. And right now we are fighting for a pro-life community college student in Walnut, California.
The truth is that we take on new cases of this sort all the time — because pro-aborts are always moving to crush pro-life speech on campus.
Abortionists seek to suppress such speech for the same reason that we strive to protect it. Pro-life campus witness actually saves lives from the busy curettes of the abortion syndicate on a daily basis — and thus cuts into profits.