Fall is typically a busy time for anti-abortion groups. That’s because of 40 Days for Life, a yearly protest in front of abortion clinics that goes on for, you guessed it, 40 days. There are typically 40 Days protesters here in New York, which they refer to as the “abortion capital of America.” Those protesters are led by Chris Slattery, who runs Expectant Mother Care (EMC), a group of 12 anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers throughout the city. They’re the ones that have the “Free Abortion Alternatives” ads on the subways, and give counseling designed to steer women away from having abortions.
Slattery and his interns tend to protest year-round outside of Dr. Emily’s, an abortion clinic in the Bronx that provides late-term procedures. They usually ramp up their efforts during 40 Days. This year, though, the staff at Dr. Emily’s reports that they haven’t yet seen Slattery and his crew, although the 40 Days campaign began on September 25. There’s a reason for his absence, and that reason is Satan. According to Slattery, the Devil is behind a series of “floods, explosions, evacuations, break-ins, nearby murders, illnesses, and set backs” at EMC.
Until recently, Slattery’s biggest battle was more earth-bound. As we told you back in July, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating EMC, specifically its claims to provide only “non-medical” advice at its centers. But Schneiderman believes EMC may be “engaged in the unauthorized practice of medicine,” according to court filings, and that EMC facilities “purport” to be medical centers, in order to mislead potential clients. (A sign on the door of the EMC’s Brooklyn office claiming that it is “affiliated with SUNY Downstate Medical Center” certainly helps to give that impression.)
But Slattery was defiant, calling Schneiderman’s case a “distraction.” The two sides are now busily suing each other in Westchester County.
But where the Attorney General may fail, the Devil is making real inroads. On October 6, Slattery sent out an urgent fundraising letter to his supporters.
“Today EMC starts year 29,” it began. “And Satan growls and bears [sic] his teeth. HELP!”
Slattery went on to explain that EMC and its staff “have had so many close calls, and challenges that are way beyond the ordinary.” For example (with all emphasis in the original letter):
First, on September 9th, the office building’s giant water tank exploded on the roof right above our top floor clinic space at 44 Court Street, in downtown Brooklyn, flooding only our office.
The two abortion clinics on the 3rd and 6th floors, in the same building were spared. (I previously emailed you about this, and thanks to those who generously helped get us up and running, fast!)
That may be because the EMC office is on the twelfth floor, right under said water tower. In any case, Slattery writes, after that, ” on Wednesday September 11th, the 12th Anniversary of the infamous 9/11 terrorists attacks, which we all know of too well, a massive explosion erupted from underground electrical cables, right under our windows at EMC’s offices at 344 East 149th St, 2nd floor in the South Bronx.”
The explosion knocked out the office’s power and Internet, Slattery writes, and the Internet connection has yet to be restored a month later. EMC staff quickly experienced yet another Satanic setback: “Our Queens doctor who volunteers twice a week, had a house break-in on 9/13, and a number of laptops were stolen, and then she developed a painful skin disease, and she is in the hospital even today for a recurrence.”
Then, Slattery writes, on September 16, “at the very 90th St, #7 subway station, our doctor and staff use daily, just a block from our Jackson Heights office, a 69 year old Woodside man was brutally stabbed to death, and a teenage boy was arrested for his murder.” (He links to this Times Ledger story about the incident.) Four days later, another man was shot to death in front of the office, while it was closed for the night.
To cap it all off, Slattery writes, on the night of October 1, a “young Hispanic male” broke into the house in the Bronx where the EMC interns live, while all nine of them were at home. “A few of our brave interns confronted him,” Slattery writes. “The interns were able to grab a bag of loot he stole, including laptops, but he got away with phones, cash, IDs, MetroCards, and a few rings, which he had stolen from a bedroom and attic while most interns were on a backyard deck.”
It’s not the first time Slattery has claimed to be under attack. That’s more or less constant; in a previous fundraising e-mail, he said EMC was being investigated by the FBI, under direct orders from President Obama. To combat that, he added, he needed to raise $28,000 right away. This time, with the Devil so hard at work, he’s left the funding amount open.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 9, 2013