Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Talk about an epic fail! If Democratic Pennsylvania State Rep. Brian Sims thinks his troubles are over after offering a “sorry-not-sorry” apology for his outrageous harassment of a woman and several teens for praying outside an abortion clinic, he is sorely mistaken. Officials have requested a criminal investigation of his conduct and the father of the teen girls he tried to expose issued an ultimatum that is making Sims’ fundraising efforts blow up in his face.
According to the Pro-Life Union of Grater Philadelphia, Rep. Sims, who calls himself an “LGBTQ activist,” is continuing to draw fire, not only for the hateful way in which he confronted an older woman who was peacefully praying outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in Philadelphia, but also for offering money to any viewers who could dox information about a few teens who had prayed in front of the same clinic.
As the Daily Wire reports, Sims says in the video which was shot on Holy Thursday: “So here’s the deal, I’ve got a $100 for anyone who will identify any of these three,” he offered his viewers, pointing out the young girls.
“We’re actually here just praying for the babies. And we actually believe women deserve more,” says an adult who was accompanying the girls.
“I’m gonna donate to Planned Parenthood,” interrupted Sims. “So, look, a bunch of white people standing outside a Planned Parenthood —”
“I’m pretty far from white,” one of the teen girls interjected and laughed in disbelief.
“There’s nothing Christian at all about what you’re doing” Sims accused. “Nothing Christian or loving or Godly at all about what you’re doing.”
In the more recent video, he is seen tormenting an older woman who was praying peacefully on the sidewalk outside the clinic, calling her “an old white lady.”
“Who would have thought that an old white lady would be out in front of a Planned Parenthood telling people what is right for their bodies,” Sims said in the video. “Shame on you.”
Tom Stevens, President and CEO of Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia, called Sims behavior, “Crazy stuff. Somebody who is unhinged.”
He added in a statement, “The fact this elected official had the audacity to harass people for simply exercising their First Amendment rights is outrageous and unacceptable.
It may also be criminal. Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Val DiGiorgio sent a letter to U.S. Attorney William McSwain, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, and Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner seeking a criminal investigation into Sim’s conduct. As outlined in the letter, the conduct displayed potentially violates a number of state and federal criminal statutes.
“Rep. Brian Sim’s conduct shown in his video where [he] harasses a peaceful protester was outrageous. We have now seen how far Rep. Sims will go as there is a second video where he solicits the identifying information of teenagers exercising their First Amendment rights as a means to further intimidate and/or harass them,” DiGiorgio said.
“Elected officials should not use their positions of power to harass citizens who are peacefully protesting. I hope our state and federal prosecutors will undertake review of this matter with the seriousness it deserves and uphold the role for which they were elected to, which demands holding people accountable for their actions.”
The embattled lawmaker isn’t getting much support from anywhere. According to CBS3, even Planned Parenthood issued a statement saying, “While we do not condone Representative Sims’ approach, our patients deserve to have access to health care without shame and stigma.”
Abortion supporters were as horrified by Sim’s behavior as pro-life voices on Twitter, so much so that some even commented on how the incident, as vile as it is, was finally allowing both sides to agree on something.
“I’m pro-choice but this is unacceptable from a congressional representative. You should apologize,” one man wrote.
“We may disagree on the prolife/prochoice issues, but I’m glad we can agree that this was inappropriate. Thank you for your civility,” another wrote.
The father of the teen girls who Sims was attempting to expose also weighed in with an ultimatum of his own.
“First, Brian, if you have a problem with my wife and daughters praying outside of an abortion clinic, I’m the one you can talk to… instead of harassing teenage girls,” the father posted on a new GoFundMe page designed to turn Sims’ fund-raising efforts on its head.
“Second, I have a challenge for the pro-life community. Rep. Sims offered $100 to anyone who would identify these teenage girls for him. Instead of $100, let’s join together to donate $100,000 to the pro-life movement.”
In less than 48 hours, the page has already raised more than $26,000.
And if he thought his antics would scare away pro-lifers, he was very wrong. A peaceful protest is planned for Friday, May 10, at 11:00 a.m. outside of the same clinic and it is expected to draw quite a crowd.
It remains to be seen if the man who thinks he’s justified in harassing old women and threatening the safety of teenage girls will have the guts to show up.
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