The liberal media, bloggers and pro-abortion lobby have attempted to link the entire pro-life movement to the death of abortionist Dr George Tiller ever since his May 31, 2009 slaying, spinning the latter, the act of one individual, supposedly a pro-life supporter, as indicative, exemplary and normal of the entire pro-life movement. Many have exploited this crime to argue that it is time to legally and politically clamp down on the hate, violence, terrorism and harassment, in deed and in word, of which the whole pro-life movement is guilty, directly and indirectly. For example, NOW’s statement. However, to accuse and convict the whole pro-life movement of Tiller’s murder and of hate, violence, terrorism, harassment, and related concepts, whether in word or deed, whether directly or indirectly, is wrong, untenable and simply obscures reality. In this time where irrationality, hysteria and paranoia are easy to incite and pander to, we need to take a step back and objectively analyze the situation and the abortion debate for there is nothing tangible, concrete and direct anyone can legitimately use as evidence to objectively accuse, prosecute, convict and condemn the entire, or even a majority of, the pro-life movement of direct or indirect involvement in Tiller’ s murder or of hate, violence, terrorism or harassment and other criminal things in any sense.
Those who would charge the whole pro-life movement with involvement in Tiller’s murder have not proven any causal link between the two but rather have assumed it according to their own prejudices, and thus the charge is void in every sense and must be dismissed until concrete and direct evidence can be provided. Such an accusation is premised on the assumption that the pro-life movement is founded on hate, violence, terrorism, harassment and related concepts which organically foments and fuels criminal and extremist pro-life activities. A Houston Chronicle editorial exemplifies this, stating the pro-life movement has “indulged” in “hate-filled rhetoric…for decades…establishing a climate that accepts and even condones violence against abortion providers.” Similar sentiments have been echoed by Mike Hendricks and Yael T. Abouhalkah, at the Kansas City Star, Satchel Robinson at Daily Kos, Adele Stan at The Huffington Post, Susan J. Demas at Capitol Chronicle, among many others. Again, there is no objective and concrete proof that this is what the pro-life movement is based on, especially as it pertains to the entire pro-life movement, and thus must be dismissed as a false generalization.
The pro-life movement involves many different organizations and individuals from all walks of life, cutting across religious, political and economic backgrounds and beliefs. These include atheists, agnostics, conservatives, feminists, liberals, medical practitioners, people and organizations of various religious faiths and so forth. According to a Gallup poll released in May, 2009, a majority of Americans are pro-life. With the exception of a fringe minority of extremists, pro-life supporters have never promoted, encouraged, supported or partaken in what would legally be considered criminal or militant activity like violence, murder, hate, terrorism, harassment and so forth. The unequivocal public denunciation by the majority, mainstream of the pro-life movement of such words and deeds by individuals claiming to be part of the pro-life movement should be proof enough. Every mainstream pro-life organization has condemned, for example, Tiller’s murder. Many pro-life opponents may question or deny the sincerity of such disapproval, but such people most likely do not know us in the pro-life movement, what we truly feel in our hearts and minds and are judging us through their own prejudices. Some may even be exploiting such criminal actions to attain political advantage over the pro-life movement. Mary Kay Culp, Executive Director of Kansans for Life sums it up well saying “the actions of militants do not represent the agenda of the anti-abortion movement and are a setback to its goals.” We in the pro-life movement do use sharp criticisms, critiques and explicit visuals (like pictures and videos) and make use of political and legal avenues to denounce and stop what we see as a wrong. This should not be spun or considered as anything other than what it is – civilized opposition to abortion. The majority, mainstream pro-life movement is peaceful and pacifist, in word and in deed.
Secondly, what do these individuals mean by hate, violence, terrorism or harassment and other pejorative labels they attach to the pro-life movement? These terms are used so loosely and subjectively that anything with which they disagree may be labeled as such, and thus such terms merely reflect and express the biases and prejudices of those who use them rather than the truth of those upon whom they are placed. Therefore it is important to carefully discern what is really being targeted when opponents and critics of the pro-life movement use such terms as any disagreement, opposition or criticism to their beliefs, ideology, perspective can be spun as “hate,” “terrorism,” violence,” “harassment,” and related concepts. Tiller, for instance, called the whole campaign against him “terrorism,” and not just the criminal acts against him, which were, again, vilified by the mainstream pro-life movement.
Criminal and/or militant activity is not what the mainstream, majority of the pro-life movement wants or needs. On the one hand, the pro-life movement realizes such activity would be political, moral and social suicide as its adversaries would exploit them to condemn the movement and its goals and advance calls for its political and legal persecution, which is what is happening now. On the other hand, the pro-life movement understands that such activity is not only illegal but also inherently wrong and immoral regardless of the responses it would incite from the movement’s adversaries or the type of media coverage it would garner. If the pro-life movement is to maintain its moral advantage over the pro-abortion campaign, the former must respect the law and all life regardless; anything less is hypocrisy. Murder is murder whether it is by the abortionist or by someone against abortion, whether it is the unborn child or the abortion doctor, and thus must be condemned as such. If we are to arbitrarily decide who lives and who dies, we will become a nation in chaos, a lawless nation in which nobody can be safe and in which anybody can be targeted by anyone, at anytime, for any reason. As Princeton law professor Robert P. George in National Review says “let our “weapons” in the fight to defend the lives of abortion’s tiny victims, be chaste weapons of the spirit.” Anyone, then, linking violent acts of extremists with the mainstream, majority of the pro-life movement either does so out of ignorance, prejudice and/or as an attempt to garner political and/or moral advantage over their adversaries and must be dismissed as such unless direct proof can be used to substantiate their claims.