John Pisciotta's reply to letters to the editor attacking him and Pro-Life Waco
The letter exchange in the Waco Tribune-Herald occurred from Nov. of 2015 to Feb. of 2016
See the letters that precipitated this response from John Pisciotta here.
During recent months, I have received intense criticism in Waco Tribune-Herald letters to the editor. The allegations have reached the point where I feel compelled to defend my reputation and that of Pro-Life Waco.
The most recent ad hominem attacks have been:
Cheryl Foster, “Hateful acts,” November 15, 2015.
Donna Myers, “Daily vitriol,” December 10, 2015. Reprinted as “Group of hate” on January 26, 2016
Neither writer is an employee of Planned Parenthood Waco. Neither sees what happens at PP Waco on a daily basis.
The interactions between the pro-life and pro-choice sides are intense. Pro-Life Waco believes a living human being is killed in every abortion. The other side believes, for the most part, that what is destroyed is not a human life. Understandably, the words of debate are passionate. When possible, I want to engage in dialogue with opponents in the hope of conversion or simply “planting seeds.” I am not interested in heated argument or name calling.
A very conspicuous feature of the attack letters in the Waco Trib is name calling. The ad hominem bullets included hypocrite, coward, liar and most of all--woman hater. I will look through the vitriol for content I can respond to.
The Cheryl Foster letter makes these six claims:
“You and your cohorts yell horrible things to me and the staff and patients.” I seldom lead discussions with clients at Planned Parenthood. During the years Planned Parenthood performed abortions in Waco, local pastors and lay leaders were the leaders in sidewalk counseling. The goals of sidewalk counseling are to persuade a pregnant woman to choose life for her baby and avoid personal harm and regret. My main role as director of PLW is to plan, organize, and supply those on the front line talking to clients.
I have influenced the tone of the PLW interaction with Planned Parenthood clients. If I thought one of our counselors was harsh and argumentative (rare event), I have intervened to say this is not the way of Pro-Life Waco.
When PP Waco aborted babies on Columbus Avenue (until December of 2011), one of our sidewalk counselors used a megaphone to reach out to women scheduled for abortions. The reason was that PP Waco would run a leaf blower to drown out our voices. With life or death hanging in the balance, the sidewalk counselor used a megaphone at this moment of crisis.
“You work diligently to shut down Planned Parenthood.” This is true. I believe the words and deeds of PP’s founder Margaret Sanger and current practices of Planned Parenthood support the conclusion that Waco would be better off without Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood of Waco is responsible for the deaths of 19,000 pre-born baby boys and girls during 1994-2013. For 2014, Planned Parenthood nationally aborted 323,999 pre-born babies. Today, PP Waco refers for abortions performed in Austin and Dallas. Planned Parenthood is deeply involved in partisan politics. The CEO of national Planned Parenthood, fellow Texan Cecile Richards, has openly campaigned for Barack Obama and now for Hillary Clinton.
The huge shock of 2015 was the release of undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood involvement in the market for fetal organs. This happened in a disturbingly callous manner. A Mallard Fillmore cartoon in the Waco Trib (8-21-2015) asked the question, “What is the difference between Planned Parenthood and a five-week old human embryo? The Mallard Fillmore answer: “The embryo has a heart.”
If PP Waco closes one day, their legitimate healthcare services can be shifted to other health clinics without the moral and political baggage of Planned Parenthood.
“You consistently work to put the rights of a potential person above the rights of women.” I believe science affirms that pregnancy creates life and this life is human. Pro-life Waco and I seek to uphold the dignity and respect for babies—no matter how small--and seek the well-being of mothers. A woman who is pregnant is carrying a separate person. Her choice is to nurture the life of the baby or to destroy the baby through abortion. Pro-Life Waco does not have a pregnancy support ministry. Waco is blessed to have the fantastic outreach of CareNet Pregnancy Center of Central Texas to serve moms and their babies.
“You don’t show compassion for the women who have made a difficult choice.” This is the accusation that hurts me most. Ms. Foster and I have never met. She has absolutely no way of know my attitude toward women who have experienced abortion. For me and for all in Pro-Life Waco, nothing could be further from the truth. I have been profoundly moved by the testimonies of women severely harmed by their abortions, including the current Texas State Representative Molly White of Belton. Because of the welcoming attitude of Pro-Life Waco, our foot soldiers include women who have gone through abortion and then to repentance and the Lord’s forgiveness.
“You twist the facts and lie to persuade others.” Not a single example is provided. As a leader of Pro-Life Waco, I have made it a priority to be truthful. A good reputation for a leader of a non-profit is very important. I have wanted Waco neighbors and members of the press to know that when I said something my reputation would attest to its veracity.
I have presented many inconvenient truths. One example, was exposing the semi-pornographic content of the book It’s Perfectly Normal that was distributed by PP Waco to children attending Nobody’s Fool in 2002-2004. When challenged by public exposure, PP Waco’s defense was calling me a liar.
“Your efforts are designed to stop a procedure that you personally will never be able to fully understand.” This statement is true and leads Ms. Foster to wrongly call me a coward. As a man, I will never be able to personally understand what a woman experiences in either the joy of child birth or the upheaval of abortion. Others have used the term courageous for the way PLW stands up for pregnant women, who are often pressured and misinformed about abortion and the aftermath of abortion. The fetus is not just a clump of tissue as PP “counsels” according to many post-abortive women. The reality that I am a man, will never cause me to withdraw from the defense of baby boys, baby girls, and their moms.
The second attack letter from Donna Myers ratchets up the rhetoric a notch or two. She writes, “every time he utters a word it is hateful.” I am slowly learning how defenders of “choice” handle discourse. They use euphemisms for the abortions they support and can hardly bring themselves to say or write the “a-word.” Abortion is a “reproductive right”, a “choice”, “controlling one’s body” etc. While softening wording for their position, they characterize pro-lifers in an extraordinarily harsh way. I am learning that calling your opponent a hater is a common maneuver. Ms. Myers has never met me but somehow knows that every word I utter is a word of hate.
Beyond harsh name calling, Donna Myers makes three declarations:
“Demonstrators yell with great venom and hate.” She mentions Planned Parenthood facilities and Nobody’s Fool at the Waco Convention Center. Ms. Myers does not give a single example supporting her accusation. I have explained above my limited role at these locations and that I watch to keep the discourse civil. Waco no longer performs surgical or chemical abortions in Waco. Also, PP Waco’s summer Nobody’s Fool conference is terminated. I can understand the frustration of those who have defended PP Waco over the years.
“Mr. Pisciotta has been known to approach supporters of PPCT and even personally contact staff from PPCT to engage in some sort of confrontation.” Again, no specifics are offered. Regarding PP employees, we seldom engage in discussion since they are forbidden to talk to us. An exception is security personnel. Discussions across the public-right-of-way with security personnel have been frequent and friendly. We discuss sports, our families, etc. Security personnel believe communication with me and other pro-lifers helps with their security responsibilities. I do encourage security personal to leave Planned Parenthood and join the pro-life cause.
I have talked to PP staff members as they walk into the clinic. I respect public right-of-way boundaries and, therefore, do not approach staff members. I have mailed Christmas cards to Planned Parenthood employees and encouraged them to convert to the pro-life side. I have received about a dozen thank you cards from PP Waco indicating someone had donated to PP Waco in my name. I saw no reason to complain.
[Pisciotta} has a holier-than-thou attitude. I do not subscribe to today’s pervasive ethical stance called moral relativism. The spirit of moral relativism was advocated in the 1963 book I’m OK—You’re OK. Going back further we find, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 17:6. In a nutshell, moral relativism claims that any freely chosen action or behavior is good and should be applauded by others.
I am a Christian and believe in objective Biblical moral truth. The commandment “Thou shall not kill.” is a very important injunction. Judging whether another person is condemned or not is far above my pay grade. The Bible does mandate that we discern our own sins and the sins of the world we live in. The Biblical interpretation that we should not judge or respond in opposition to the sinful acts of others, is sapping the vitality from contemporary Christianity. The 57,000,000 abortions since Roe v Wade constitutes immense sinfulness. This involvement in our society goes far beyond the mother and the abortionist. Indeed we are living in a human holocaust.
The Bible frequently warns against hypocritical judgement of others. I hope that by acting with love to defend the children that Jesus loves so much, that I judge without hypocrisy. Pro-Life Waco has created a popular “Life Guard” t-shirt. I plan to wear this t-shirt frequently for the years God grants me.
If you any questions or comments about this statement, I invite a call or an email. 254-644-0407 firstname.lastname@example.org