Earlier this month, pro-life activist Purity Thomas, who is fifteen years old, was punched in the face as she stood peacefully outside an abortion facility in Roanoke, VA. She was treated for a concussion. The pro-choice assailant has not yet been identified; however, employees of the facility have been ruled out.
Purity's courageous response is both inspirational and instructive. Here is a short list of everything she did right, in chronological order:
(1) She got it on video. The assailant began by screaming at Purity and her friends, and stealing one of their signs. At that point, one of her friends started recording, with the result that the physical attack was caught on video.
When an interaction with an abortion supporter becomes heated, pull out your phone. It's for your own safety; people tend to be better behaved when they know they're being recorded. And if the situation nevertheless escalates, at least you have evidence. (I know some pro-life activists who take this a step further and wear GoPro cameras during all outreach as a matter of routine, but that's impractical for many, especially in a sidewalk counseling setting.)
(2) She did not fight back. Purity did not make any attempt to defend herself against her attacker. Whether that's because she physically couldn't, or chose not to, or both, is unclear. Regardless, it was the right move for two reasons. First, self-defense probably would not have deterred the abortion supporter; Purity could have received another punch, or worse. And second, taking the punch is an act of solidarity with preborn children, who are physically defenseless.
(3) She stood firm. This is what Purity had to say:
“I think it encouraged me and spurred me to continue my pro-life work,” she told us after the attack. “I know that there’s always a possibility to save a baby’s life and the woman from the violence of abortion. That is more important than my own well-being.”Purity, you are awesome. May pro-lifers everywhere follow your example.