Anti-abortion activist attacked

Man who ran over James Canfield’s sign is arrested

photo by robert speer

Ordinarily in the abortion wars, it’s pro-choice folk who come under attack from anti-abortion types, as occurred recently when a Kansas abortion doctor was shot and killed while at church. So what happened June 24 in front of the Chico Planned Parenthood office on Vallombrosa was an unusual reversal of circumstances.

James Canfield (pictured), 73, who says he has been picketing abortion clinics for 25 years, was standing on the sidewalk, next to a big sign with a grisly photo of an aborted fetus, when a man in an SUV drove up on the sidewalk and over his sign, narrowly missing Canfield, who was unhurt.

The driver, later identified as Matthew Haver, 40, of Chico, circled around, stopped near Canfield, and began swearing at him, Canfield later said. Two boys were in the truck with Haver, who apparently objected to the image on the sign.

Someone got Haver’s license-plate number, and later he was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon.

Clinic employees did not witness the incident. Heather Estes, the clinic’s CEO, said in a phone interview the group did not countenance such actions, adding: “We don’t think anybody lawfully exercising their rights should fear for their safety.”