A Pennsylvania lawmaker has said that pro-life activists and Christians are bullies, after he faced criticism for a video he livestreamed, in which he angrily confronted a woman praying outside a Philadelphia Planned Parenthood.
“Bring it, Bible Bullies! You are bigots, sexists, and misogynists and I see right through your fake morals and your broken values,” Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims tweeted May 5, after the pro-life group Live Action criticized a video Sims livestreamed May 2.
In the May 2 video, which Sims livestreamed on Twitter and the Periscope app, the lawmaker can be seen approaching a woman outside of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The woman, by herself, can be seen praying the rosary across the street from the Planned Parenthood.
While Sims solicits donations for Planned Parenthood, he refers repeatedly to the woman as an “old white lady.”
As he approaches her, he says “I have a couple questions for you, ma’am. How many children have you clothed today? How many children have you put shoes on their feet today? Have you fed any children today, or have you say stood out in front of a Planned Parenthood, shaming people for something that they have a Constitutional right to do?”
“You can pray at home,” Sims tells the woman.
“Who would have thought that an old white lady would be outside of a Planned Parenthood telling people what’s right for their bodies? Shame on you,” Sims can be heard saying.
“You’re allowed to be out here,” Sims says to the woman, who can be seen continuing to pray the rosary. “That doesn’t mean you have a moral right to be out here. Shame on you. What you’re doing here is disgusting. This is wrong. You have no business being out here.”
Sims can be seen continuing to speak to the woman for several minutes, while she continues to pray and does not engage him. He repeats the phrase “shame on you,” while calling her an “old, white, lady,” repeatedly.
Later, Sims asks the woman to “talk about your Christian faith. About how your Christian faith believes in shaming people. About your Christian faith believes in telling people that you know what’s right for their bodies. About how your Christian faith believes that you know what’s right for their families.
Several minutes into the video, Sims can be seen obstructing the woman’s path with his camera. “Get out of my way,” the woman says. “Get your camera out of my face.”
“No,” the lawmaker tells her.
He then says to the livestream audience: “If you know who this woman is, and you can give me her address, we’ll protest outside of her home. Let’s go protest out in front of her house and tell her what’s right for her body.”
The practice of soliciting or publishing online an individual’s address and other personal details in order to elicit harassment is known as doxing. It is illegal in many jurisdictions.
As the nearly nine-minute video continues, Sims continues to berate the woman, and her religious faith, after she asks him to leave her alone. He calls her prayer “a racist act of judgment.”
“This Planned Parenthood has done more for civil rights in America than this person will ever do for anyone’s rights,” Sims says, while continuing to solicit funds for Planned Parenthood.
“Hasn’t fed a child today. Hasn’t put shoes on a child today. I’m sorry, ma’am, how many Catholic Churches are you protesting, out of 400 priests in Pennsylvania indicted for child molestation. I don’t remember seeing at those protests. I was at them. Instead you’re dragging people for their Constitutional rights. Shame on you,” Sims says to the woman.
“Shame on you.”
400 priests in Pennsylvania have not been indicted for child molestation. Sims seemed to be referring to a July report from a Pennsylvania grand jury, which noted 300 priests credibly accused of sexual abuse or misconduct during a period of seven decades.
The woman is apparently not the only one to be the subject of videos livestreamed by Sims. In an undated video tweeted by Live Action May 6, Sims can be seen approaching five people, most of whom appear to be teenagers, outside of the same Planned Parenthood. He characterizes them as “white people,” and “psuedo-Christian protestors who have been out here shaming young girls for being here.”
Sims says in that livestream video that he will give $100 to anyone who can identify the names and addresses of the young people.
“We’re actually just praying for the babies, and we believe that women deserve more,” one of them can be heard saying.
Sims, 40, has represented the 182nd district of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 2013. A Democrat, Sims worked as a legal advocate for same-sex marriage and was the first person to identify as gay elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Shortly before posting his livestream interrogation of the woman, Sims tweeted “Planned Parenthood protesters are scum! I’ve spent years as a patient escort witnessing firsthand the hate, vitriol, hostility and BLATANT RACISM they spew. You can ‘pray for a baby at home.’ You sure as hell can feed a kid or clothe one instead. Old, fake, White, wrong!”
Law enforcement officials have not yet said whether Sims will face charges for his engagement with the woman.