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Tipsheet

Elderly Pro-life Woman Attacked Outside Abortion Clinic

Timothy Tai/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP

An elderly pro-life woman was attacked and thrown to the ground last month outside of an abortion clinic in Kentucky, suffering a broken leg and multiple head injuries.

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The incident was captured on video by a surveillance camera outside of the EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville. 

The victim is long-time pro-life sidewalk counselor Donna Durning. She can be seen in the video being pushed to the ground, after calmly approaching a woman who’d exited the abortion facility. Durning said she was merely attempting to give the woman some literature about a crisis pregnancy center.

“I had a little card from Little Way Crisis pregnancy center, and I just offered it to her. And I said, ‘Honey, if you need to talk to anybody, there’s a number on here,’” the pro-lifer said, WLKY News reported.

Durning says she’s been counseling women outside of abortion clinics for the past 23 years.

"I was there, as I am five days a week, talking to girls, offering them alternatives to abortion," Durning told the news outlet. But this time, she felt that something was different.

“I saw a lot of hatred in her face and, I'm not exaggerating, I saw the face of Satan in her eyes,"  said Durning, referring to her attacker. 

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Durning has since undergone surgery for her injuries, which included a broken femur, and is now recovering in a rehabilitation center.

"There literally are nails in my leg, but every day I get a little bit better," she said.

According to LifeNews, abortion activists in the Louisville area are using the recent assault to bolster calls for so-called “buffer zones,” which “prohibit pro-lifers from coming within a certain distance of the abortion clinic.”

Laura Landenwich, a local attorney, is on a committee working to convince the Louisville Metro Council to approve such a zone around the clinic.

“That's a perfect example of how quickly things can escalate in that environment and so it is better for people to keep their space," Landenwich said of the incident involving Durning.

Landenwich said a safety zone would allow pro-lifers to exercise their freedom of speech while preventing potentially violent confrontations.

"This is about everyone's safety. This is about the safety of people protesting, entering the clinic, walking down the sidewalk," Landenwich explained.

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But the so-called safety zones would also prevent pro-life sidewalk counselors from being able to interact with the women entering and exiting the clinic. 

Like many pro-life advocates, Durning does not support the idea of a safety zone, believing it would inhibit her ability to offer assistance and save lives.

"I'm there to help mothers and help them save their children," Durning said.

She also said she hopes the woman who attacked her will eventually be held responsible, and already knows what she'll do once she's back on her feet.

"I'll be back on the sidewalk!" Durning said.

The suspect remains at large. Local law enforcement is investigating the incident as an assault, and so far has been unable to identify the woman. 

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