By Meredith Raney
Published May 10, 2001
Eleanor J. Bader, Patricia Baird-Windle
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (2001)
This book’s main purpose is to demonize the entire mainstream non-violent pro-life movement by dwelling on the violent acts of a tiny misguided group who think they can be pro-life and at the same time lie in wait and ambush people. The legitimate pro-life movement condemns all acts of premeditated violence by individuals including the violent tearing apart of innocent human beings that occurs over 4,000 times a day in abortion clinics across America.
Most of the incidents described in this book are not violent at all, but they obviously had a tremendous effect on the abortion industry. In fact, if one filters out the demonizing rhetoric described above, the book could be used as a sequel to Joseph M. Scheidler’s book, Closed: 99 Ways to Stop Abortion.
A de facto manual for Christian pro-life activists
By Jay Rogers
Here is my belated review of Pat Windle’s tome on how the pro-life movement forced her into retirement. I won’t try to write a flashy journalistic review here. Merely it is my record of note that can be used by other pro-lifers to see which pro-life tactics the abortionists themselves think are the most effective. It’s meant as an analysis of the inside thinking of an abortion provider and how pro-lifers can take advantage of this shared knowledge.
Since I am mentioned a few times in the book, I always wanted my own copy. In fact, the book is much more interesting and edifying to those who oppose abortion because it is a testimony on how effective we can be with just a little more effort and thought than usual. Recently, I saw a “like new” copy on Amazon for only $1.88! Thanks Amazon! You have kept me and other activists from padding Pat Windle’s store of blood money.
One former pro-life activist from Melbourne, Florida smartly pointed out that Pat Windle has written this book as though she expected only her friends, supporters and confidants to read it. But it is much more useful as a training manual for pro-life activists. I will list, in future reviews, these helpful tips as well as oddities of the book that may give us a glimpse into the thinking of an abortionist. I would encourage others who have read the book to add their own insights as to which tactics covered in the book are the most beneficial to the pro-life movement.
The book is a chronological account of Pat Windle’s observations of pro-life activism in America from the 1970s to 2001. A sampling of newsworthy pro-life events is covered — from the most violent and reprehensible tactics to the benign. Obviously most space is given to the events that led Pat Windle to quit because, in her own words, “I just couldn’t take it any more. I was physically ill and exhausted and had spent the bulk of my retirement savings on litigation to stifle the antis.”
The first unusual nuance of the book is that although much of it focuses on Melbourne, Florida, the home of Pat and Ted Windle’s abortion clinic, the only mention of local pro-life activists by name are in extensive references Meredith Raney and a few references to Jay Rogers. Besides that only national leader Keith Tucci is mentioned. The doings of other pro-lifers are mentioned but only we happy few are named. One has to ask this question: Why only are we named? Are we the least likely to sue her for libel? Did we cause her more problems than the myriad protesters, rescuers and sidewalk counselors?
One has to know Meredith only briefly to understand why he is singled out as the most effective pro-lifer. I did little more than own the house across the street and create some sporadic media coverage in my own print publications, internet web pages and emails. I also spurred some television and newspaper coverage of my exploits, such as the “killing place” easement lawn and mailbox and “Jay’s Killer web page.” I immediately asked myself, “Since others did so much more and put in much more time, why was she particularly annoyed at me?”
In reading this book, I noticed that purposefully leaves out the names of other individuals whom she describes in detail. It’s not simply an oversight or a coincidence, since she names many of the abortion supporters in Brevard County including the names of several prominent pro-choice religious leaders, such as New Age priestess Susan Beem-Berry, who were supposedly “harassed” by pro-life activists.
It’s not hard to determine from this then, that two things that bothered her most were first the purchase of the house, which provided according to Pat Windle, a 24-hour-a-day pro-life presence. Why it would bother her that I was simply there I do not know, but there are some deeper spiritual implications that will be explored later. The second point is the power of the press and media. Pat was also convinced that I housed long range microphones and listening devices aimed at her every conversation and has even claimed that their phones were tapped. In other words, she hated being watched, recorded and reported on by pro-lifers.
The fact that I had a “newsletter” and a “website” clearly bothered her. Anyone could have bought the other properties for sale adjacent to the clinic. These were cheap $50,000 houses at that time. Anyone could have started a website or a newspaper, newsletter or publication. That would have compounded her ire no doubt. On the other hand, it irritated me that Pat Windle constantly said through the press that someone else paid for all of this when I earned my money through a lot of hard work.
Now at least people can see that these were effective efforts. It’s a lesson for the future.
Pat Windle in Her Own Words
Pat Windle is ironically one of the best friends of the pro-life movement. A Christian reporter once told us that the best thing we could possibly hope for was for her to get in front of a television camera as often as possible in order to launch into one of her witch-like tirades. Next to her visual presence and demeanor, the autobiography is the next best thing to advance our cause just as she is negative propaganda for hers.
The autobiography of Patricia Baird-Windle was researched and written by Eleanor J. Bader, an ultra-feminist social worker who has written on liberal politics for over 20 years now. It is possible in some places to tell where two opinions diverge. For instance, there are some blatant contradictions between the narrative portion of the book and Pat Windle’s quotes. I’ll try to point out what I see. For the most part, the book is the observations of an abortionist who made a fortune killing babies and spent a fortune fighting pro-life activists. It is an invaluable testimony.
I’ll give each one of these quotes a heading so that with quick perusal a sharp eye may be able to glean something useful.
The Torment of Disbelief
But although the constant torments … have been difficult to weather, it is the disbelief of people, the looks that tell me that what I am describing cannot possibly be real, that has been most bothersome. Strangely, few skeptics have been straightforward in asking me to prove my assertions. More often I simply hear of see doubt in the voices of eyes of people I am trying to educate about the terrors inflicted on my staff, my doctors, our families, and those associated with us (Preface, page x).
Occam’s Razor is a principle in philosophy that says in effect, “the simplest explanation is probably the correct one.” Of course, the simplest explanation to Pat Windle’s torment of disbelief is that there is no massive government conspiracy. In Pat Windle’s mind, the press and media, the police, the judicial system, the FBI, the BATF and Janet Reno’s federal marshals were all secretly aligned firmly against her. It’s all the more funny because I can remember admonishing pro-lifers who thought much the same thing was true except against them.
The simplest explanation about accusations that most people cannot believe about the pro-life movement is that these accusations are not the truth but rather the confabulations of a tormented mind. Pat Windle does more in her book to prove the unsoundness of her own mind than she does to tarnish the reputation of the pro-life movement. The vast majority of pro-lifers are just peaceful people who love Jesus, and want to save babies.
Even the liberal, pro-abortion local press is against us!
The press and media’s reluctance to report these ongoing attacks, in conjunction with collateral harassment, has squelched the efforts of those who might otherwise assisted us. For example, when more than 570 objections were received by my local newspaper to protest a story about me and what I do, the paper became extremely cautious and ended up indulging the other side. We call it the BOB syndrome. They Bend Over Backward to be ‘fair’ even when they see the protesters’ vile or illegal behavior with their own eyes. Cops BOB. Judges BOB. Journalists and legislators BOB. Needless to say, this behavior adversely affects providers and undermines our confidence and our commitment.
A couple of things immediately spring to mind here. First, in 391 pages, Pat Windle documents one example of a physical attack against her clinic. This occurred at her abortion clinic in Cocoa when she first opened in the 1970s when wrote “Butcher Bin” and “Helter Skelter” in graffiti on the outside walls. She reveals her skillful use of propaganda. These claims of attacks and vandalism were repeated endlessly by the press. But besides that one example, in over 20 years, there were no documented incidents, no arrests and no convictions for violent crimes or vandalism by pro-lifers.
Everyone “bent over backwards to help the pro-lifers. This is just a little bit of historical revisionism – or should I say “hysterical” revisionism. I can remember being arrested three times at Aware Woman for walking on the sidewalk outside my own home and spending a total of over a week in jail. It’s also amazing to hear that Florida Today, the newspaper that she was referring to, was “fair” to the pro-life side. I don’t know what she expected. I suppose the Gannette News Service existed to be a weapon and a propaganda machine against the pro-life movement. According to Windle, they existed “to assist us” and not as objective news reporters.
The most amazing assertion though is that she claims that the press and law enforcement saw “the protesters’ vile or illegal behavior with their own eyes.” Using Occam’s Razor again it is more likely that they didn’t see any vile and illegal behavior because none — except for peaceful civil disobedience — occurred.
Finally, when Pat Windle says that the media and press “undermines our confidence and our commitment” by indulging also the views of pro-lifers, we should take note that what she expects is support from the media to the point of ignoring all other views except those of the abortion providers. If they don’t snap to and write what she wants, then she might lose confidence and commitment – Heck, she may even quit on them! – And then where will they be? She probably wonders about this at night.
Abortion rights may become a moot point
In addition, please note that although the right to privacy still protects freedom of choice, if there are no providers left, choice becomes a hollow phrase and access a moot point.
What she is saying here is that if the public and judicial interest in curtailing pro-life activism is weak, then the so-called “woman’s right to an abortion” becomes moot. Even though abortion may be legal, then public consensus could eventually trump the judicial activism of those leftists who saw a “right to abortion” in the Constitution.
Christians in modern history have theorized that the civil liberties we enjoy in a democratic republic do not come from public consensus or from governing authority. Rights and liberty comes from God. If we accept the liberal view that civil rights come from popular democratic consensus or the Supreme Court, then we ought to wonder where the “right to abortion” goes when public opinion and the courts turn against this notion.
The Declaration of Independence guarantees the “right to life” as a gift endowed by God for His creation. I wonder who can guarantee the “right to privacy” and “freedom of choice” as an immutable truth? I wonder also how a person can speak so firmly about a “right to abortion” – without a reliance on Divine Providence that our founders spoke of when our nation was formed?
During the time of communist repression in the Soviet Union, one dissident wrote:
We discover with astonishment that so-called rationalist humanism actually lacks an adequate rational basis for its defense of the dignity and inalienable rights of the human personality – for which it has often risked both life and limb. The American Founding Fathers who many years ago first propounded the ‘eternal rights of man and the citizen’ postulated that every human being bears the form and likeness of God; he therefore has an absolute value, and consequently also the right to be respected by his fellows. Rationalism, positivism and materialism successively destroyed the memory of this absolute source of human rights. The unconditional equality of persons before God was replaced by the conditional equality of human individuals before the law.
Apparently, Pat Windle does not even believe her own rhetoric. If one accepts the materialist, rationalist view of human rights, then the source of our rights becomes man rather than God. When abortion rights are overturned, the abortionist will be forced to accept the wisdom of the 51 percent. And even if the Supreme Court over-rules, the 51 percent can eventually change the Supreme Court. This is why Christians are destined to win this war. We believe that rights come from God, and we need to submit to Him. We do not need to submit to the “political power that flows from the barrel of a gun.”
A Book Review
By Lonny Salberg
Patricia Baird-Windle and her husband Ted Windle were the long-time owners of an abortion clinic in Melbourne, Florida operated under the auspices of the Magnolia Corporation. The clinic later became the site of massive protests by local and national pro-life activist groups.
The Windle’s abortion clinic became the subject of the first court-tested case of a “buffer zone” to keep free speech protesters 36 feet away from the clinic’s property. The buffer zone included a public sidewalk on Dixie Way directly across the street from a house I owned. For a few years, my property became the only legal basis by which sidewalk counseling could continue.
For years a few brave Christians continued to risk arrest by demonstrating, praying or simply walking on a sidewalk. A court ordered injunction must name specific persons, but this injunction used the phrase “and those acting in concert with …” to include any pro-life demonstrator regardless of whether they had broken any law. The local pro-lifers continued to challenge the “buffer zone” until eventually the local courts decided that since none of the remaining pro-lifers were named in the injunction, we could no longer be arrested.
Aware Woman was later demolished to make way for a road-widening project on US1. The Magnolia Corporation sold the assets of the clinic and its patient accounts to an Orlando abortion clinic owner who opened a clinic in Cocoa (about 20 miles north), but has since gone out of business.
Pat Windle later wrote an autobiography crediting the local pro-life activists, rather than the road widening, for driving her out of business. One local pro-life activist wrote this telling review:
Pat Windle’s book, Targets of Hatred: Anti-Abortion Terrorism, co-written with feminist Eleanor J. Bader, is her account of the events that took place at her abortion clinic over the 20 years that she operated it. Needless to say, it is a very interesting introspective into the mind of someone who feels completely justified in what they are doing — and has no sympathy for anyone of an opposite opinion. Unfortunately for her, no one at St. Martin’s Press (a great publishing company) took the time to edit her book apparently, or give her pause to consider the consequence of telling all, so it is like reading a personal diary of her every thought and idea, without regard for how her enemies might read it. In other words, she wrote it over the course of many years, as if only her friends and supporters would read it — people who shared her ideas. I’m sure pro-life people have bought it nearly 2 to 1 over her supporters.
The book pretty much confirms that nearly every strategy and action that was taken against her clinic was, in fact, the proper action to take, despite some of them looking like losing propositions at the time.
I bought my copy within a few months of it being published… over five years ago at least. I saw it on the bargain bin at Books A Million for less than $5. Read the whole thing in less than two days. I still hope I can get her to autograph it somehow (thus affixing her signature as testimony to her work — might come in handy for future proceedings).
I highly recommend the book, especially if you are a lover of science fiction or fantasy novels. Many heroes of mine made the cut and are indexed carefully by Pat Windle. Howard Phillips (1 page), The U.S. Taxpayer’s Party (3 pages) (now the Constitution Party), Mark Gabriel (1 page), R.J. Rushdoony (1 page), Ronald Reagan (5 pages), Pat Mahoney (2 pages), Keith Tucci (8 pages), Flip Benham (9 pages).
But Meredith Trotter Raney, Jr. gets a virtually free miniature biography written of him — indexed on a whopping 21 pages of her 330-page book. Yes, over six percent of the pages in her manifesto mention Meredith Raney. I use it as a handy reference whenever I forget some interesting fact about Meredith — like this one:
Due to repeated complaints filed within the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration by Raney, inspectors visited the clinic three times in twelve months to ascertain whether the medical staff was properly credentialed. On all occasions, everything was found to be in order and personnel were found to be in compliance with state licensing requirements. Unfortunately, the pattern of filing utterly ridiculous complaints with city, state and federal agencies absorbed an enormous amount of staff time and forced workers to expend energy on something that benefited no one.
Benefited no one … except innocent babies and the pro-life movement. That’s probably what she meant to say. But still, you’ll find it tough to find a better bedtime read that has as much adventure, comedy, and suspense as Pat Windle’s book. Tom Clancy and Stephen King have met their match.
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