Pouillon’s Son Says Father Didn’t Really Care About Abortion


The son of slain Owosso anti-abortion rights protester James Pouillon told the Flint Journal that abortion foes have selected the wrong man to lionize as a martyr for their cause.

Grand Rapids podiatrist James M. Pouillon has not had contact with
his father since 2001. But he isn’t staying silent about the way his
father is being called a martyr by some in the anti-abortion rights
movement.

“I don’t think he really cared about the unborn,” said
Dr. James M. Pouillon, a Grand Rapids podiatrist, who had not spoken to
his father since 2001. “I don’t think he was really pro-life.”

Pouillon’s sister disagreed with the doctor, saying her father was a Christian acting on his beliefs.

“He died out there doing what he believed in,” 26-year-old Mary Jo Pouillon of Owosso said at a memorial service Wednesday.

But the son argues that the actions of his father, who would
regularly protest, carry signs and yell at passers-by, was all part of
a larger plan. The younger Pouillon called his father a “sociopath who
terrorized a small town while hiding behind his First Amendment.”

“You could speak with a couple of hundred people who
don’t agree with me, so who is right? I’m not going to try to yell
louder than my dad’s friends,” he said.

The son also said his father used his abortion stance to terrorize
women and said his father abused his mother, Mary Lou Kadera. The two
divorced in 1987 and she died in a 2001 car accident.

In a 1992 interview with The Flint Journal, the activist
acknowledged years of marital problems, including a fight where he
pushed his wife into a piano. Three days after the fight, he told the
Journal that “the Holy Ghost came on me.”

The senior Pouillon has been hailed as a martyr by Cal Zastrow of Kawkawlin, chairman of the Michigan Citizens for Life.

Pouillon was gunned down last week Friday while standing in front of
Owosso High School, something he would do regularly. Officials have
said the alleged shooter, Harlan Drake, told them he was offended by
Pouillon’s graphic signs and felt children should not have to view
them.

An attorney representing the Drake family put out a statement saying
Drake was suffering from depression and that they did not believe the
shooting had anything to do with abortion.

Drake is also accused of shooting the 61-year-old owner of a gravel
pit in Owosso Township. Drake is in jail without bond awaiting trial on
charges of first degree murder and weapons violations.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • crowepps

    “It will be impossible for some to believe, but my dad really didn’t care about abortion.

    He did this to stalk, harass, terrorize, scream at, threaten, frighten, and verbally abuse women. He had a pathologic hatred of women: his mom, my mom, everyone.

    After my mom finally left him and he lost his favorite punching bag the violence and abuse that was always contained within our 4 walls was unleased on the people of Owosso.

    My dad used the pro-life movement and 1st Amendments foundations to defend him, support him, and enable him. He fooled them all.

    He was at the high shool because my niece was there, and female family members were always his favorite targets.

    Again, my dad didn’t care about abortion. He wanted to hurt people, upset people. He enjoyed making people suffer.

    His goal was to be shot on a sidewalk. His goal was to make someone so angry, to make them feel so terrorized, to make them feel the only way they could make him stop was to kill him.

    His pro-life stance was the most perfect crime I personally know of. He hid behind the 1st Amendment and was allowed to stalk, terrorise, harass, be obsene, ect. These things are crimes. Offending people isn’t a crime, and having different political views isn’t a crime, but he committed several crimes over the last 20 years and got away with it.

    Yes I really am his oldest son. Owosso is now rid of a mad man.”

    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2009/09/owosso_man_was_looking_to_sett.html#5097337

  • catseye71352

    It must have been a living nightmare to grow up in that house.

    Catseye  ( (|) )

  • colleen

    Thank you crowepps for this link. The sister was (if my math is correct) all of 4 when her mom left the guy but this is the oldest son. I think men like his father must be fairly common within the anti-abortion movement and that their behaviors and attitudes towards women are encouraged and enabled.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • derekp

    Hey RH Reality Check, great job on promoting a culture of victim-blaming! Maybe next week you will drudge up stories from associates of victims of rape to show that the little hussies had it coming to them. Your progressive, enlightened viewpoints never cease to amaze me.

  • crowepps

    The son obviously loathed his father, and on the face of it his account is biased by that loathing. I don’t see how that is ‘blaming the victim’. Even if the man was obnoxious and violent and a misogynist, that doesn’t justify him being murdered. However, being shot for those reasons (rather than his being ProLife) does make it difficult for the fundraisers to enshrine him as a ‘martyr to the cause’.

  • crowepps

    I don’t think men like this are ‘fairly common’ anywhere, thank God, but I can see where they would be attracted to a movement that licenses them to publicly abuse strange women while affirming their abuse as ‘righteous’ by calling it ‘sidewalk counseling’. Personally, I think we need a lot clearer understanding in this country of when ‘free speech’ goes over the line into harassment and assault. Pouillon took his harassment conviction all the way to the Supreme Court and lost but he never admitted that his behavior was wrong.

     

    My experience in divorces is that there is a recurring theme of men involved in domestic abuse being enabled to use religion as an excuse for their behavior by fundamentalist religious ‘authorities’ who insist the family must tolerate the abuse because ‘God set the man at the head of the family’ or that the women earn the abuse by not being sufficiently Biblically ‘submissive’.

  • cmarie

    I don’t think most people think of the deceased as a mayter to anything. As I understand it the accused killed another man the same day for a completly different and illogical reason. It could just as easily have been anyone. The point is that the deceased has been in the news because he was murdured and now you are trying to dig up all the dirt you can on him. I can’t imagine why — certainly the pro choice movement is no more responsible for this death than the pro life movement was for Tillers.

  • progo35

    I honestly don’t think I would put much credence in the account of an angry son who has not seen his father for eight years, at least in terms of whether Pouillon was “really” pro life. Yes, unfortunately, pro lifers and pro choicers both make serious mistakes in their lives. That’s what makes us human, but that has nothing to do with that individual’s pro life stance.

    For instance, if I died and someone did a story on my pro life convictions, someone else could come back and say, “yeah, but did you know that at one point she had terrible credit card debt and had an eating disorder and said horrible things to her mom and that she euthanized her cat when it was in end stage kidney failure?” I’m sure that Tiller did things in his life (besides, in my view, the very late term abortions he performed), that were less than stellar, but that wouldn’t nullify what, in the pro choice community’s eyes, he did for women.
    In short, I don’t think that an individual’s past is necessarily a reflection on the authenticity of their views or their contribution to “the greater cause” that those views support. That doesn’t excuse someone’s bad behavior, but it does make it a weak counterargument against the position that that person stood for.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    P.S.-the story is CRAP unless the FJ can tell its readers how it got their "confirmation" that this post came from Pouillon’s son. If they really located him, why not do an authentic, follow up interview? Just saying that they confirmed the source of an otherwise anonymous post is not acceptable.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    linked in Todd’s piece, you will see that they spoke to him directly and quoted him directly.

    Mr. Pouillon’s murder is and was a horrific act, as was the death of Mr. Fuoss, no more and no less.

    Organizations within the anti-choice community have indeed decided to make him a martyr and lionize him.  They are using exactly this language.

    The ensuing reporting delves deeper into the motivations and background of the persons in question.  For one thing, it is now very clear that this was not the act of someone who is "prochoice" against someone "prolife."  Not a political act as has been said before.

    For another thing, yes, i do think it counts.  When you constantly and publicly demean women for their choices, demean the physicians and clinicians and personnel working daily in clinics to provide reproductive health care, and daily subject people to misleading and graphically horrible  material based on some political agenda, it is in fact, I believe, relevant to know more about the background of the person and the actual motivations of their agenda.

    It’s not whether he had credit card debt or some such.  It goes to the core of the issue.  If you in fact were a dometic abuser–which obviously is being claimed by the son–then there is a relevance there to how you view and treat women and their rights. It is not necessarily the whole story, but it is akin to the mark Sanfords of the world spewing one set of "values" and living another set in Argentina.

     

  • paul-bradford

    The senior Pouillon has been hailed as a martyr by Cal Zastrow of Kawkawlin, chairman of the Michigan Citizens for Life.

     

    Right after Pouillon died I wrote, "If good can come out of tragedy then we will all be better able to love our enemies.  There is more that binds us together than there is that draws us apart."  I wrote my ‘commentary’ assuming that Pouillon really was Pro-Life and that he did what he did in an effort to increase our respect for people who are vulnerable.

     

    The evidence presented here puts the whole matter into a different light.  There certainly are men who hide behind religion and behind the Pro-Life movement to cover up an attitude of deep disrespect.  Pouillon may have been one of those men.   It’s hard for me to believe that a decent man would engender such contempt in his own son.

     

    I tend to assume good will on the part of everyone — on both sides of the dispute.  But that assumption leads me astray sometimes.  I’m often blindsided by the fact that not everyone has good will.  Wouldn’t it be great if we were all better informed about our ‘friends’ before tragedy makes them celebrities?

     

    The unborn need decent, life-respecting, sincere women and men to plead their case.   Those of us who really do care about the tragedy of abortion need to figure out a way to distance ourselves from bad characters.

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    If you in fact were a domestic abuser–which obviously is being claimed by the son–then there is a relevance there to how you view and treat women and their rights.

     

    Why would a man who didn’t care about women bother to care about the unborn?  If the younger Pouillon is right about his father then the answer is that he DIDN’T care about the unborn.

     

    A man who hits women should be barred from participating in Pro-Life activities.  Having a domestic abuser speak for the unborn is as nauseating to me as having a pedophile serve as a priest.

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • paul-bradford

    if I died and someone did a story on my pro life convictions, someone else could come back and say, "yeah, but did you know that at one point she had terrible credit card debt and had an eating disorder and said horrible things to her mom and that she euthanized her cat when it was in end stage kidney failure?

     

    Progo,

     

    If those are your faults then you’re a saint.  I’m happy to have you speaking up for the well being of the very young.  Somehow, though, I’m not too keen about have wife beaters take up the cause. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • progo35

    Jodi-all the quotes from "Dr. Pouillon" came from his post on the MJ site. There was no individual interview that was quoted in that article that Todd linked for his piece.  

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • colleen

    That’s what makes us human, but that has nothing to do with that individual’s pro life stance.

    I agree that using one’s wife as a punching bag for years or terrorizing women for ones own pleasure does not disqualify him as ‘pro-life’ or a Christian.

    I do disagree with the notion that these are little mistakes that “make us human”

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    Furthermore, if Pouillon was really abusive, why would his daughter come out and defend him? Surely, if there were abuse in the home, she would have seen or experienced it. Moreover, to say that Pouillon wanted to be shot, that he wanted someone to “feel like the only way to stop him was to shoot him” is totally llogical, because it supplies an excuse for the shooter and attributes a goal to Pouillon that is inconsistent with what he actually did. I don’t protest abortion with signs or in public, I do so via discussion of my viewpoints, etc, but if I did go out onto the sidewalk with a sign, it wouldn’t be for the purposes of being shot.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    If you actually read the article linked in Todd’s post, he is quoted by name, profession, place of residence and so forth.  He also is quoted extensively.

    Moreover, the article states:

    Pouillon’s son told The Flint Journal on Tuesday that his father was
    a "sociopath who terrorized a small town while hiding behind his First
    Amendment" right to free speech.

    He first came forward in a post on mlive.com,
    to respond to people commenting on stories about the shooting, saying
    his father’s "pro-life stance was the most perfect crime I personally
    know of" and said his father wanted to be shot one day on a sidewalk. [bold added].

    There clearly was an interview following on to the MLive.com post.

    We do not print anonymous posts from people in such situations and as a professional and highly respected journalist, neither would Todd, who, by the way, lives and works in Michigan.

    Jodi

     

  • jodi-jacobson

    Read the articles.

  • progo35

    I did read them. He said that he had marital problems, not that he had been abusive. "Marital problems" can mean everything from abuse to alcoholism to bickering and not listening to the needs of one’s partner.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    I do want to say that if Pouillon really did hit his wife/did the things that this man alleges that he did, than I agree with you, Paul. I’m not saying that being abusive is just common variety bad behavior, I’m just saying that many people do things that are wrong and I think that it’s important to recognize that the actions of one person do not reflect the actions of most people or a movement in general. For instance, I don’t want people thinking that I would hit or abuse my partner because Mr. Pouillon did, or that Joe prolifer down the street has bad credit card habits because I, a prolifer, did. My second point in my other posts was that I am unsure as to whether the man quoted is really Pouillon’s son, and I would like to see more proof of that fact. 

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • colleen

    I don’t think men like this are ‘fairly common’ anywhere

    Admittedly, if the son’s description is accurate, his father sounds extreme but for years I have helped out in women’s shelters and very abusive men are far more common than many people are aware.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    Yes, but the quotes they attribute to him in the article that Todd posted are the same exact sentences that appear in his post, and by posting, he recounted his story to the paper because they could read it in the comments section. Thus, "told the paper on Tuesday" could have referred to his post in the comment section, and may not refer to a seperate interview. Moreover, how do we know that this man is telling the truth if he is Mr. Pouillon’s son? Maybe he hates his father so much he made it up. Again, why did his daughter say kind things about him at his funeral if that’s how he behaved? Why hasn’t she or other children come forward to concur with what this man said?

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    That indicates a live interview.

     

    They have his i.d.  They also have other quotes from him. 

     

    Furthermore, a reputable paper would not lift quotes from a comment section without verifying them.  If you read the article in context, it is quite clear that is not what they did. 

     

    But you are free to believe what you want.

     

    For the record, I am the oldest child of four in my family and I *do* remember things my brothers do not, or of which I saw more.  My father was a violent, unpredictable and verbally abusive man, most particularly toward my mother.  I nonetheless took care of him for 8 months while he was dying in the hospital (and I was the only one of us who did) as well as said "nice" things about him at his funeral.  Because I was still his daughter and I felt it was the right thing to do.  Doesn’t change a thing about what he did in our childhood.

     

    People do different things for different reasons.  *That’s* what makes us human.

    Jodi

  • progo35

    Moreover, Coleen, I did NOT say that the things Poullion is accused of were "little" mistakes! I said that people on both sides of the abortion debate make "serious" mistakes. And, as someone who has been in an abusive relationship, I resent your misquoting of me in that way. But, I also believe that if someone is truly sorry (and I mean really sorry, meaning, that they’ve reformed their lives, not just said they were sorry or bought their wife flowers to ‘make it up’), than they can be forgiven and set free from their past, and that such people aren’t automatically disqualified from fighting for what they believe in. So, if Pouillon was abusive and he reformed his life, and he sought forgiveness, than I don’t think that he is necessarily disqualified from participating in pro life activities. If he didn’t repent and change his life, than that’s another story.

    Lastly, I, personally, believe that it is more than the "little mistakes" tha make us human. I firmly believe that human beings are born with the choice to do good or evil and, so, we have a significant capacity for great evil. If not, people wouldn’t have created the atom bomb, orchestrated the Holocaust, or enslaved entire races of people. There would be no domestic abuse, because people wouldn’t beat their partners, they would always act lovingly towards on another. But, people do have very evil impulses, and so very evil things, like domestic abuse, happen.

    But even the most vile perpetrators of the most horrible crimes can come to God’s table for forgiveness and have a chance to change their lives. If Pouillon did abuse his family but than he repented and reformed his life, than his stand was legitimate.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • colleen

    So, if Pouillon was abusive and he reformed his life, and he sought forgiveness, than I don’t think that he is necessarily disqualified from participating in pro life activities.

    So, do you suppose he reformed before or after his conviction for stalking a young woman?

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • progo35

    I don’t know, because I’m not God. only God knows if and when he repented, if he did what this other man and one woman say that he did. Also, I don’t know the extent of the "stalking," so I couldn’t speak to that.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • christopher-f-vota

    Christopher F. Vota, on troll patrol

    The quote reads like a justification for an act that would otherwise be viewed as criminal. Curious how the "righteous" excuse unannounced divine intervention while condemning those whose acts are "demonic" in their view: this from people who desire Americans to be totally responsible for their actions without any mitigation. It must be great knowing "The Lord is always by your side." I guess I’m not religious enough to run "20 red lights in His honor." – Rolling Stones 

     

    Sad that a movement has so few heroes it needs martyrs when it can find them, and if they can’t be found, just make them up. It’s all about control, and that’s what this "martyr" was all about. Too bad an even sicker puppy silenced this bully – a jail term would have sufficed.

  • crowepps

    “Here’s a breakdown, showing offense date, charge, and outcome:
    Sept. 22, 1994 — Housing code violation. Guilty by trial. Fined $200.
    Sept. 30, 1994 — Zoning violation. Plead guilty, fined $100.
    Dec. 22, 1994 — Disorderly person. Not prosecuted.
    July 26, 1995 — Malicious destruction of property over $100. Plead guilty. Fined $550 and given one year probation.
    Sept. 1, 1995 — Littering. Dismissed.
    Sept. 7, 1995 — Housing code violation. Not prosecuted.
    Sept. 16, 1995 — Disorderly conduct. Plead guilty. Fined $250. Served one day in jail, on probation six months.
    Nov. 29, 1995 — Disturbing the peace in public building. Dismissed.
    Aug. 8, 1997 — Disorderly conduct. Dismissed. Fined $200.
    Sept. 22, 1997 — Disturbing worker. Not prosecuted.
    Feb. 23, 1999 — Defective equipment. Admitted responsibility.
    June 7, 2000 — Disturbing worker. Dismissed.
    June 7, 2000 — Stalking. Dismissed.
    July 1, 2000 — Stalking. Guilty. Fined $800.
    April 12, 2001 — Improper lane use, causing accident. Admitted responsibility. Fined $95.
    Oct. 12, 2002 — Pedestrian violation. Found responsible. Fined $35.
    July 18, 2003 — No seat belt. Admitted responsibility. Fined $50.
    Dec. 7, 2003 — Speeding 10 mph over the limit. Default judgment. Fined $85″
    http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2009/09/homicide_victim_james_pouillon.html

  • crowepps

    Explanation of stalking from Pouillon’s appeal attorneys:

     

    “According to the statute, “stalking” is defined as a willful course of conduct involving continued “harassment” of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel “terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.” In their petition, Institute attorneys argue that Pouillon’s speech should have been considered “constitutionally protected activity.”

     

    Over a six-year period, from 1994 until 2000, James Pouillon regularly protested near the Young Oldsmobile Cadillac dealership in Caledonia Township in Shiawassee County. On July 15, 2000, Pouillon was engaging in his normal protest activities, which included standing across the street, several hundred feet away from the dealership, while holding a sign and verbally objecting to the company’s endorsement of pro-abortion political candidates, when Lori Rowlison, the sales manager of Young Oldsmobile Cadillac, complained to local police that she felt threatened by Pouillon’s presence. Rowlison’s complaint led to Pouillon’s arrest and a sentence that included a five-year probation and a 30-day jail term, as well as being prohibited from protesting near Young Oldsmobile Cadillac during business hours.”
    http://www.rutherford.org/articles_db/press_release.asp?article_id=457

     

  • crowepps

    The counterargument is against the position that this man was shot “because of his ProLife beliefs”. Based on what is available at this time, apparently that is not true. The person who shot him was NOT a ProChoice fanatic committing a crime to shut down his ProLife activisms but instead a local person who found him individually and personally repugnant because of the MEANS he chose – like stalking, harassment and displaying shocking photos to kids.

  • crowepps

    Before the newspaper printed the excerpt from his post, they verified his identity. They said that in their article.

  • crowepps

    Shoving women into pianos, however, seems to be a little more than ‘not listening to the needs of one’s partner’. You keep saying that you haven’t seen ‘proof’, you’ve rejected the information provided by an eyewitness, and you admit that you ‘don’t know the truth’. Considering all that, it puzzles me that based on that lack of information you are just sure that this man is being maligned here and he was probably really a reformed character who had ‘repented’ based on absolutely no information other than ‘he was a ProLife sidewalk counselor’. As has been made clear in other cases, it is possible to be a ProLife sidewalk counselor AND a lunatic willing to kill, bomb or burn for those ProLife beliefs. Thankfully, very rarely!

  • progo35

    "People do things for different reasons. *That’s* what makes us human." Well, that’s part of it. But people do things for different reasons because we live in a fallen world. For instance, I agree that women do not want to have abortions. In a perfect world, no one would be in a position to seek one. But that also relates to the fact that people are fallen and make choices that lead to more choices. For instance, someone might have sex with their partner even though they know that their partner isn’t ready, or they may refuse to use birth control even though they know that they should. That is wrong, yet, because we are human, that is what people do. This includes progressively wrong and evil things, including abuse, battery, and cruelty. We don’t know if Pouillon repented of his personal sins before he died.  but I, for instance, don’t think that  my former boyfriend can never pursue or stand up for a righteous cause again in his life, even though he did some terrible things. That relationship is over and I am sure that he has asked for forgiveness. I’m sure that as long as he is sorry, God has forgiven him and I would not view his participation in pro life activities as hypocritical.  So, Pouillon  may or may not have repented, and doing so would have lended confirmed legitimacy to his pro life protest, but, unfortunately, we’ll never know because some pro choice person who, like Roeder, couldn’t stand what someone from the opposition was doing, shot him.

     

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jeornom

    This article is reporting hearsay from a family squabble. If you are looking for RH reality, you would do well to base it on facts and data rather than the comments of a son with grudge.