Anti-Abortion Group Targeted a Black Lawmaker With KKK Graphic, Lawsuit Says - DMT NEWS

Breaking News

Anti-Abortion Group Targeted a Black Lawmaker With KKK Graphic, Lawsuit Says

On Feb. 1, the first day of Black History Month, an email arrived in the inbox of West Virginia state House Delegate Danielle Walker. It was a message, Walker said, that meant to terrify.

The email’s subject line read, “Your Plan.” The email included a graphic of a robed Ku Klux Klan member, hand raised in a Nazi salute, beneath the words, “What do you think the coward hiding under his dunce cap and face mask thinks every time he hears about a Black child has been aborted?”

“Be pro-life as if your race depended on it!” the graphic added. “It’s the American thing to do!” 

The day after the email landed in Walker’s inbox, the head of a local chapter of West Virginians for Life, an anti-abortion group, admitted to posting an identical graphic to the group’s Facebook. 

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Walker sued West Virginians for Life over both the email and the Facebook post, accusing the group of being behind both messages. The messages were “the modern-day digital equivalent of burning a cross in Delegate Walker’s front yard,” the lawsuit alleges.

The Facebook post tagged Walker, who has had an abortion, directly, according to the lawsuit. The post read, “The idiot featured in the picture below is an ally of yours and holds the same beliefs you do that the killing of children who look like you is a good thing!”

In her lawsuit, Walker, a Democrat and the only Black woman serving in the West Virginia state legislature, said that she now enters and leaves the state house in protective body gear. None of Walker’s fellow lawmakers received a similar message from the group, the lawsuit alleges.

“It is impossible to comprehend the astonishment that I felt when targeted with an image of a hooded Ku Klux Klansman throwing a Nazi salute directed at me,” Walker said in a press release Tuesday. “The companion Facebook post presented the hate-mail for the entire world to see. These digital communications were and are designed by West Virginians for Life to harass, intimidate, and strike me with fear of violence if I continue my support of a woman’s right to choose.”

Prior to Walker’s lawsuit, Richard Demoske, the president of the Berkeley County Right to Life chapter of West Virginians for Life, took responsibility for creating and posting the image to Facebook and resigned. In a statement, Demoske said that he had intended to “point out that racists would likely support the eugenic abortion of Black people.” 

“In an effort to oppose racism, I composed a poorly designed and easily misunderstood meme that unintentionally conveyed racism,” continued Demoske, who did not mention Walker by name in his statement. (It was addressed merely “to whom it may concern.”)

The anti-abortion movement, which has a history of co-opting the language of racial equality, likes to often claim that the procedure is used to target Black people. But the anti-abortion movement also has a legacy of links to far-right extremist movements, including the Ku Klux Klan. 

In recent weeks and months, the overlap between anti-abortion activists and white nationalists has widened, as far-right extremists have made appearances at multiple anti-abortion events. 

Last summer, the Proud Boys, a far-right street fighting gang, provided “security” for an anti-abortion pastor who runs a Christian nationalist church. The youth-oriented white nationalist group Patriot Front also recently put in appearances at two high-profile anti-abortion marches in Chicago and Washington, D.C. 

Hours before Walker filed her lawsuit, the legislative body she belongs to voted to pass a bill that would ban almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The bill contained no exceptions for pregnancies conceived through rape or incest, as has been standard in abortion restrictions since the late 1960s. Instead, the West Virginia bill looks almost identical to a 15-week abortion ban passed in Mississippi in 2018. That ban, now at the center of a Supreme Court case that threatens to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, now being tested out by red legislatures as a potential template for banning abortion in a future where Roe no longer protects abortion rights.

In the Tuesday press release, an attorney for Walker said that the state legislator is shaken and fears for her life. But, the press release said, “She will not let that fear distract her from her official duties.”



via https://www.DMT.NEWS

Carter Sherman, Khareem Sudlow