Pa. lawmaker responds after confrontation outside Planned Parenthood facility in Philadelphia

ByGeorge Solis WPVI logo
Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Lawmaker apologizes after confrontation outside Planned Parenthood
Lawmaker responds after confrontation outside Planned Parenthood. George Solis reports during Action News at 5pm on May 7, 2019.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A Pennsylvania state lawmaker has issued a response after intense backlash following his confrontation with a woman outside a Planned Parenthood facility in Center City Philadelphia last week.

Representative Brian Sims recorded the 8-minute long video himself which he streamed on Periscope and has since gone viral.

"I wasn't a patient escort. I was a neighbor, and a concerned citizen and I was aggressive. I know that two wrongs don't make a right, and I can do better and I will do better for the women of Pennsylvania," he said in a video posted late Tuesday afternoon on his Twitter account.

In the live streamed video, he criticizes a woman with the anti-abortion organization Sidewalk Servants, who he says is shaming women going into the clinic.

The Democrat admitted the woman had a constitutional right to demonstrate, but also said in the video, "an old white lady telling people what's right to do with their bodies, shame on you."

Video shows Pa. lawmaker confronting woman outside Planned Parenthood facility. Jim Gardner has more on Action News at 11 p.m. on May 6, 2019

"What I should have shown you in that video was protesters gathered together to pray at - not to silently pray for - people coming in and out of Planned Parenthood," Sims said in his Twitter video response.

Sims also added "I fully understand, respect, and appreciate the non engagement policy that (Planned Parenthood) have."

In a statement released Tuesday, Planned Parenthood Southeastern Philadelphia President and CEO Dayle Steinberg says in part: "While we do not condone Representative Sims' approach, our patients deserve to have access to health care without shame and stigma..."

Action News also received a statement from the woman in the video, saying, "I forgive him and I am praying for him. Please do the same."

The woman's statement was released along with reaction from Doctor Monique Ruberu, who runs Sidewalk Servants.

"This poor woman who wanted to do nothing but stand, pray and hand out blessing bags was verbally assaulted and badgered by a state representative for nine minutes non-stop. This man is obviously hurting and we pray that he finds peace and has a conversion of heart so he no longer feels the need to abuse those who hold differing beliefs," said Ruberu.

Philadelphia Police said they are investigating the confrontation, but did not get into specifics.