Activist state

Anti-abortion activist scales skyscrapers to spread his message

Maison Des Champs knew he would likely be arrested once he reached the top of the New York Times Building in Manhattan on Thursday, but he was at peace with that – he had been arrested two days earlier after solo climbing the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco.

Surprisingly, the police were nowhere to be found when he finished his climb that morning. Des Champs got away by hurtling down some 52 flights of stairs in climbing shoes before slipping through an emergency exit.

The only physical evidence of his intrusion were some banners that Des Champs had hung above the New York Times sign on the facade of the building. One said, “Abortion kills more than 9/11 every week!”

He calls himself the “Pro-Life Spider-Man”

Some days, Des Champs is a 22-year-old finance student at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas who enjoys spending his free time hunting and rock climbing.

On other days, he can be found scaling skyscrapers — free solo, climbing without a rope or harness — to raise money for groups working to convince women not to have abortions.

The type of activism he has chosen tends to get him into trouble. Before being arrested in San Francisco, he was arrested climbing the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas last summer – he was protesting COVID restrictions on that climb.

“Climbing has a habit of not asking permission. We have, I guess, a tradition of outlaws,” he told NPR. “So we tend not to ask permission. We tend to just do what our heart tells us to do.”

When he climbs these buildings, he does so without the aid and protection of ropes, harnesses, and other equipment. This climbing method, known as free solo, is incredibly dangerous. Even a slight miscalculation or a misplaced hand or foot can result in a fatal fall.

That being the case, Des Champs carefully chose the buildings to climb.

“When you’re climbing skyscrapers,” he says, “you have to pick something that’s realistic and well below your skill level. Because you don’t want to climb 600 feet without a rope and then start doubting yourself. yourself.”

During the climb, Des Champs chooses a place to stop and rest every 10 feet or so. He doesn’t view the climb as a 1,000 foot undertaking, but rather many small accomplishments.

His ascent was not timed for the draft notice leaked on Roe vs. Wade

The fact that the Supreme Court draft annulment decision Roe vs. Wade leaked the day before his ascent of the Salesforce Tower was a coincidence.

Des Champs’ rise was scheduled a month in advance, he said, spurred by news he read that allegedly involved a doctor in Washington, D.C., who provides services, including abortions. .

Des Champs hopes his climbs will attract attention and raise funds for the groups he supports. He also wants the police to investigate the doctor.

“The charities I fundraise for provide housing, they provide health care services, they provide ultrasounds and adoption services to women who want to have an abortion in an effort to try to prevent them from undergoing an abortion,” Des Champs said. . “There are so many people I’ve spoken to who are pro-choice, I can tell they haven’t been exposed to the pro-life argument.”

He added: “I don’t expect a woman who doesn’t want a child to take care of her child. It’s not good for her or the baby. That’s why I think we really need to push adoption over abortion.”

He thinks abortion is ‘morally wrong’

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Win McNamee/Getty Images


Getty Images

Des Champs said his goals go beyond Roe versus Wade. If the Supreme Court decides to follow through on its proposed decision to overturn the landmark case, abortion laws will be left to the discretion of states.

Des Champs said he believes a person should be allowed to have an abortion in cases where the individual is forced to choose between their own life and that of the fetus, but opposes the abortion of a fetus for issues such as disabilities and malformations.

“There are so many factors. And it’s not up to the man to make those decisions, you know, it’s up to the higher power that you believe in,” Des Champs said.

If the Supreme Court followed through on its proposed ruling, abortion laws would be left to the discretion of the states. As it stands, approximately half of the states would severely limit abortion or ban it entirely. Patients seeking an abortion are likely to be travel more and more to states that will continue to allow them. Limits on access to abortion can also lead to negative health effects and economic hardship, according to a study.

Des Champs acknowledged that many would not like his message. He said he doesn’t focus so much on laws, he’s more concerned with how he sees things morally.

“I do not think so Roe vs. Wade did all of that, if I’m being perfectly honest,” he says. “…I think abortion is just morally wrong. It’s about abortion in general, not necessarily the law, because I believe that even if it were perfectly legal, [I would be] trying, I guess, to fight it.”

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