Two elderly pro-life activists were attacked outside an abortion clinic in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday morning.
The assault took place at around 10:30 a.m. outside the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic on North Howard Street.
According to a Baltimore Police Department incident report shared with The Epoch Times’ sister media NTD News, a witness said 80-year-old Richard Schafer was engaged in a debate over pro-life and pro-choice abortion views with the unnamed white male suspect. According to witness testimony and camera footage, the suspect walked away from Schafer and his fellow pro-life advocates for a moment before returning and engaging in a “visibly aggressive conversation” with Schafer. The camera footage reportedly showed the suspect then tackling Schafer over a large flower pot.
The camera footage reportedly showed 73-year-old Mark Crosby run over to assist Schafer. That is when the suspect reportedly turned on Crosby and shoved him to the ground with both hands. As Crosby was on his back, the suspect leaned over and punched him in the face and then stood up and kicked him in the face “with extreme force.”
The suspect, identified by police as a white male with brown hair and a full beard, walked away from the scene of the attack. According to the police description of surveillance footage, the suspect—who was wearing a gray T-shirt, blue jeans, and brown shoes—was seen walking away down West Mulberry St. City Watch cameras tracked the suspect as far as the intersection of Greene and West Mulberry Street before losing him.
The Victims’ Injuries
The police report states Schafer sustained a laceration to his hand after the attack, while Crosby had a large lump forming on his right eyebrow and blood and swelling on the right side of his face when police arrived. Crosby was also experiencing neck pain as a result of the attack.
Crosby was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma unit for medical treatment and diagnosed with a large blood clot over the eye socket and bleeding within the eye itself, known as hyphemia. Local pro-life activist John Roswell told LifeSiteNews that Crosby’s “plate bone in his upper right cheek is completely fractured,” and he “is bleeding from some unidentified area behind his eye.” Roswell said also said Crosby’s bone eye orbit is “completely shattered and will have to be replaced with metal.”
Police said Crosby was listed in stable condition at the hospital.
The police report did not provide any additional details about Schafer’s injuries. Roswell told LifeSiteNews that Schafer is recovering from his injuries at home.
Dr. Jay Walton, the president of the Baltimore County Right to Life chapter, set up a GoFundMe fundraising page on Crosby’s behalf.
“For years, Mark has prayed in front of the Planned Parenthood in Baltimore City to let the scared, young abortion-minded women know that they are loved, that their baby is loved,” Walton wrote. “Please donate to show Mark how much HE is loved. Your donation will go to Mark to help him pay for medical expenses.”
As of Wednesday morning, the GoFundMe page had collected more than $34,000 in donations, surpassing the original $10,000 donation goal.
The topic of abortion has led to vandalism and violent altercations on both sides of the contentious policy debate. Many recent incidents have followed the leak of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, wherein the court ruled that states could regulate aspects of abortion policy not already codified in federal law.
Several pro-life organizations and churches have been targeted with pro-abortion graffiti and other acts of vandalism in recent months.
In March, federal prosecutors charged 29-year-old Hridindu Sankar with firebombing a pro-life crisis pregnancy center in Madison, Wisconsin in May of 2022.
The National Abortion Foundation, a pro-abortion organization, has also reported (pdf) a spike in attacks and other efforts meant to disrupt abortion clinics. The organization reported arson attacks on clinics doubled from two incidents in 2021 to four in 2022. Burglaries and invasions at abortion clinics also rose a reported 231 percent, from 13 incidents in 2021 to 43 in 2022. Threats and the planting of suspicious devices near clinics also increased in 2022.
In January, federal prosecutors charged 32-year-old Tyler Massengill with firebombing an abortion clinic in Peoria, Illinois on Jan. 15, 2023.
Several recent federal cases accuse pro-life activists of blocking abortion clinic entrances or intimidating people entering clinics, in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act.
In September of last year, FBI agents arrested Catholic pro-life activist Mark Houck at his home over a 2021 altercation outside an abortion clinic. According to Houck’s wife, Ryan-Marie Houck, the FBI raid involved dozens of armed agents who threatened to break down their door and pointed weapons at family members—an allegation the FBI has denied.
The DOJ alleged Houck had pushed 72-year-old clinic escort Bruce Love to the ground during an October 2021 protest. Houck’s legal team argued that the altercation actually began after Love began aggressively “harassing” Houck’s 12-year-old son during the protest. Houck was acquitted in a Philadelphia federal court in January.