Joan Jacobsen, the 84-year-old pro-life advocate shot during a door knock appeal in September, has been recognised as Society of St. Sebastian’s Person of the Year.
In a statement announcing the honour, the fellowship representing scholars, and other professionals concerned with protecting the sanctity of human life said:
“Mrs. Jacobsen [a retired nurse] has shown a commitment to the Culture of Life few have ever faced before. She advocated for the unborn, those who had no legal voice, and was met with violence.”
To recap: the Right to Life Michigan volunteer was shot in the right shoulder by 74-year-old Richard Alan Harvey.
Jacobsen had been canvassing against the state’s radical abortion law, Proposal 3: an anything-goes “reproductive freedom” law which drew criticism for its potential to violate parental rights, protect paedophiles, and force abortion in surrogacy cases (see here).
Harvey’s hostile, pro-terminate-the-baby wife began arguing with Jacobson, who disengaged, and was said to be leaving the property when she was shot.
Although Harvey’s defence claimed the shooting was an accident, his testimony didn’t stack up.
Based on a recount from The Guardian, Harvey testified that Jacobsen turned violent, and had (allegedly) ‘refused to leave.’
This apparently forced him to grab his wife’s .22-caliber rifle from the barn, then aim at a pine tree, with the intention of ‘firing a warning shot.’
The pro-abortion shooter also alleged he was in the process of trying to knock Jacobson’s clipboard out of her hands with the butt of his wife’s rifle, when it discharged, hitting Jacobson.
Not buying the defence, an investigation prompted Michigan prosecutors, to charge Harvey with ‘one count each of assault with felonious assault, careless discharge of a gun causing injury, USD $10,000 bail, and reckless use of a firearm.’
Jacobsen’s lawyer also questioned the defence, stating:
“Mr. Harvey admitted firing a warning shot, so he knew the gun was loaded when he pointed it at my client. If it was truly an accident, why did neither of the Harvey’s express any remorse or even offer to assist Ms. Jacobsen; or call 911 immediately after shooting her?”
Under oath, Jacobsen recalled Harvey’s wife “getting very angry.”
“The only thing I said to her was did she know [the radical abortion proposal] was going to amend the state Constitution? And she said she didn’t care.”
Leaving the property, Joan asked Mrs. Harvey to stop yelling at her, when Mrs. Harvey came up behind her saying, “she was going to call the police.”
Going “down the sidewalk,” Jacobsen turned, “to see where Mrs. Harvey was,” only to see Mr. Harvey “standing beside her with a gun. By the time it registered in my brain that there was a man with a gun, I heard a shot and I felt the pain,” she said.
Still, under oath, Jacobsen testified to the “bullet going in and out, narrowly missing her spine.”
Recounting the incident, and pointing to the similarity of Jacobsen’s experience with 3rd Century Christian martyr, and Roman solider, Sebastianus, the fellowship bearing his name, wrote:
“Just as Sebastian went before governmental authority to lobby on behalf of the legally voiceless, our Person of the Year must also advocate bravely before public officials as well.”
“Joan clearly has the fortitude of St. Sebastian. She not only faced the Culture of Death through her pro-life advocacy, but faced the violence the it brings. She is a true witness to the Culture of Life and an awesome advocate for the unborn.”
Past honourees include Director of Right to Life East Texas and Founder of the Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn Initiative, Ps. Mark Lee Dickson, as well as writer, Maria Gallagher.
The incident vindicates comments made by defrocked pro-life priest Frank Pavone earlier this week, when, in response to being purged by the papacy for protesting for a culture of life over against a culture of death, he declared, “If you defend the unborn, be prepared to be treated like them.”