Jackson anti-abortion activist Roy McMillan is disputing a claim he has used racial slurs and cursing in his crusade against Mississippi’s only remaining abortion clinic.
The Mississippi Business Journal in this blog and in a July 16 issue reported on some of McMillan’s activities outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, including one claim from a neighboring business owner that McMillan approaches clinic employees and patients and engages in “dog cussing” and “using the N-word.”
The 70-year-old McMillan says he has never used language like that. “I’ve never used the N-word in my life,” he tells MBJ. “I’ve never threatened anybody. I’ve never called anybody ‘baby killer.’ We are there to help people. What we are is peacemakers between mother and children.”
Well-known by both sides for his opposition to abortion, McMillan regularly pickets outside the State Street clinic. He says he has been arrested more than 60 times in his civil disobedience career, including once in Birmingham, Ala. with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights struggles of the 1960s. McMillan says he has saved thousands of lives with his anti-abortion work.
“I go out there every day,” McMillan says. Along with wife Beverly, a former abortionist turned Christian obstetrician, McMillan has taken pregnant African-American women into his home and even given away the family car just to help.
“I have always supported integration and loved the blacks and downtrodden,” McMillan says.
McMillan often quotes Jesus Christ and says he agrees with philosopher Edmund Burke’s famous statement, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
“I’m for the unclean, the uneducated, the unliked, the unborn,” he says.
McMillan says he is sorry some neighbors disagree with his beliefs and activity but compares the abortion clinic to Dachau, a World War II concentration camp.
“My main message to them is I feel your pain,” McMillan says. “But I feel the pain of the mothers and the babies more.”
Terri Herring, an anti-abortion lobbyist in Jackson who has known McMillan for years, writes in an e-mail to MBJ that McMillan “is trying to save countless African-Americans from aborting their children. I can assure you if he was a racist he would not be there day after day. He and his wife take in women and shelter them and their children. He is sincere in his zeal to protect lives.”
From a business standpoint, Herring believes the clinic is hampering efforts to revitalize the area and says she is, “shocked at how complicit Fondren is.”
“I know (Fondren has) lost support from some because of this,” Herring writes. “They could do more to reject the practice and provide community pressure… There was a day when all the businesses ran from the civil rights issue too.”
“I just have an unnatural burden about this,” McMillan says when describing his behavior. “When something is unnatural it’s supernatural.”