Michigan man charged in connection to shooting of elderly pro-life volunteer

A Michigan man was charged with shooting and wounding an 84-year-old pro-life woman who was canvassing door-to-door against a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee abortion access for women in the state.

Richard Harvey, 74, was charged Friday with felonious assault and reckless discharge of a firearm causing injury.

Michigan State Police investigated the September 20 shooting at Harvey’s home in Odessa Township, and recommended the prosecutor’s office charge him, Ionia County Prosecutor Kyle Butler said in a statement.

The woman, Joan Jacobson, told investigators she was urging a woman at the home to vote against Proposal 3 in November’s election when she was ordered to leave. 

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A Michigan man was charged with shooting and wounding an 84-year-old pro-life woman who was canvassing door-to-door against a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee abortion access for women in the state.
(Michigan State Police)

She told The Detroit News she was headed to her car when she “heard a shot” and “felt some pain.”

Jacobson said she drove to a local police station after the shooting, and that she later received treatment at a hospital.

Harvey, 74, told WOOD-TV that he shot Jacobson accidentally while she was arguing with his wife. He said he had told Jacobson to leave their property several times.

MICHIGAN MAN SAYS HE ACCIDENTALLY SHOT ELDERLY PRO-LIFE VOLUNTEER WHO WAS ALLEGEDLY ‘SCREAMING’ ABOUT ABORTION

Michigan State Police investigated the September 20 shooting at Harvey's home in Odessa Township, and recommended the prosecutor's office charge him.

Michigan State Police investigated the September 20 shooting at Harvey’s home in Odessa Township, and recommended the prosecutor’s office charge him.
(Google Maps)

He said he fired a warning shot at a tree with his wife’s .22-caliber rifle but that Jacobson continued “ranting and raving” and waving a clipboard.

“I’m thinking she’s going to smack Sharon with it,” Harvey said. “So without thinking, I went to club it away with the rifle and my finger was still in the trigger guard. It went off and hit her.”

Jacobson, who is a long-time volunteer for Right to Life of Michigan, contends that she never waved her clipboard.

In this Jan. 18, 2019, photo, pro-life activists protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, during the March for Life in Washington.

In this Jan. 18, 2019, photo, pro-life activists protest outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, during the March for Life in Washington.
(AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

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If Proposal 3 passes in November, abortion rights would be constitutionally guaranteed in Michigan. A 1931 state law makes it a crime to perform most abortions, but the law was suspended in May and a judge ruled this week that it was unconstitutional.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.