Anti Choice

Anti Choice

John Dunkle is an eighty-ish year old anti-abortion activist who makes his base in the Allentown/Reading, Pennsylvania area. For way too many years, he has regularly protested outside of a few abortion clinics in the area and occasionally at the home of clinic staff people.

I became acquainted with Dunkle through this blog. When I posted my stuff, he immediately jumped into the fray. For several years he almost single-handedly carried the banner for the anti-abortion crowd. Of course, we disagreed on everything but I always gave him credit for one thing: he had energy. He always seemed to have an answer, a reply, a zinger to my posts or to the comments from others. While I never agreed with him, I was always candid about my support of his ability to protest at a clinic and even at a house within certain boundaries. Indeed, years ago when the pro-choice groups were lobbying hard for passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, I took a lot of heat because I felt the First Amendment protected most forms of protest and we ultimately got language in the law saying so.

So, Dunkle regularly ranted and raved. I always found it interesting, however, when another anti-abortion person chimed in because I always thought Dunkle resented someone else barging in on “his” terrain. Then, about 18 months ago, Dunkle signed off. I don’t remember if he gave a reason, but he basically said adios and disappeared. I actually wondered if he was ill.

I will admit that I missed him in some way. I’ve always enjoyed being in the middle of the great abortion debate and I’ve always relished the opportunity to articulate my very strong convictions on this very delicate issue. And I never hid behind the “choice” word. I went right to the meat of the issue and talked about ABORTION. And I took a bunch of hits for doing so.

Anti Choice

Anti Choice

Then, lo and behold, Dunkle reappears! Like Lazarus rising from the dead, one day he just popped up and commented on a post! WTF?

I welcomed him back, as did some of the other pro-choice commentators. We had a few back and forth repostes, no damage done, then I asked him if he was still out there protesting. He said he was, that he continued to go to two clinics and a house. It was funny because, when I read that, I almost felt sorry for him. I envisioned this worn out activist, lamely standing outside of an abortion clinic, a pathetic sight to behold, shouting to the women as they entered the facility.

And then I asked him if he felt that, after all of these years, he had accomplished anything. His answer was something like that was not for him to judge. He didn’t say he had saved any babies, that he had furthered his cause, that he had made a difference. It sounded like a tired response.

I admire anyone who stands up for a cause, as long as it is done within legal limits. At least that person stands for something and is taking part in our democratic process. But I also think of Dunkle’s family, his kids, his grandkids, his wife and other loved ones who have watched him trek on down to the local abortion clinic every Saturday. I wonder if they think he has accomplished anything?

How sad.