WHY KILLING ABORTIONISTS IS IMMORAL AND STUPID
In formulating a policy which forbids the use of our copyrighted materials by those who refuse to condemn abortion-related violence and or refuse to disassociate themselves from those who refuse to condemn abortion-related violence, we have not specified the meaning of the word “violence” for the same reason we have not specified the meaning of the word “word.” Its meaning is obvious. The reason so many pro-life activists so readily sign this agreement is because common sense dictates that words be understood to be used to convey their common meanings unless otherwise indicated. “Violence” means physical assaults against the persons or property of people who perform elective pregnancy terminations. We only make our imagery available (and we do so at no charge) to those who condemn such violence and agree to not associate themselves with others who refuse to condemn violence against abortion providers. To not knowingly “associate” means to not collaborate with such persons on anti-abortion projects, to not knowingly attend meetings or other events related to anti-abortion activity with such persons, to not knowingly co-sign anti-abortion documents with such persons, or engage in any anti-abortion activity with such persons.
We want people who refuse to condemn violence against abortion providers to be anathematized. We want them to be isolated from the pro-life movement they are working so hard to discredit. Allowing them to use our materials suggests approval which gives them credibility they don’t deserve. There is almost NO support among anti-abortion activists for violence but because a small handful of unstable publicity hounds have eagerly made themselves available for the press to make fools of (and the rest of us with them) the public’s perception of pro-life activism is that it is characterized by an undercurrent of sympathy for violence. Add this misconception to the misconception that the pro-life movement is a lost cause and it becomes much harder for legitimate pro-life organizations to recruit competent staff and fund effective projects.
Paul Hill’s murder of an abortionist didn’t even prevent the deaths of the children scheduled to die at the clinic at which his victim worked. Every one of the women who had scheduled an abortion at that clinic was able to reschedule later. Even if none of them had rescheduled their baby’s deaths, the damage done our movement has cost the lives of incalculably more babies than those few who might have been “saved” on that tragic day. Far from driving doctors from the field, these stupid killings have been used by the abortion industry to harden the resolve of a new generation of pro-abortion medical students who refuse to be intimidated by thugs and who say they are actually MORE likely to enter the field to prove that point. And even if most doctors were dissuaded from killing babies by these terrorists, HUGE numbers of much tougher feminist nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are pushing legislation which would license them to perform first trimester abortions in “underserved” parts of the country. Legislatures would start passing those bills just as soon as any real shortage of baby killing doctors began to manifest itself. According to Slate.com, there are already 12 states in which abortions can be performed by people who are not licensed physicians. Would people like Paul Hill have tried to kill them all? Well, they too would end up on death row and in the process, the pro-life movement really would be turned into a lost cause.
Abortion is legal. Justifiable homicide is cognizable only when acting to stop an UNLAWFUL killing. Even then, no more force may lawfully be employed than is minimally necessary to end the peril to your own life or the life of another. No murderer of any abortionist has used only minimal force.
The solution to the abortion problem is to outlaw abortion. You outlaw abortion by changing public opinion on a broad enough scale to create a political consensus in favor of reform. You change public opinion on that scale by showing the public what abortion actually looks like and turning people’s stomachs until they can’t stand it any more. That is the way social reform has always succeeded. Killing abortionists changes the subject and in the public’s mind, makes THEM the victims and us the villains. It turns public opinion against US, not the abortionists. How dumb is that?
Unlike social activists who have lived under tyrannical regimes, we have the means to change unjust laws by working within a governmental system which is capable of reform from below. If it is morally justifiable for anti-abortion activists to kill abortionists, that same “right” could be claimed by wild-eyed consumer advocates who could begin to kill corporate officials who preside over the production of goods and services which they know or should have known will endanger public safety. The same could happen with radical environmentalists who think “climate change” is homicide; or animal rights activists who think “meat” is murder. The list of grievances is endless and our society could quickly be plunged into chaos. The rule of law is fragile and hard-won and it would be swept away in a wave of simultaneous jihads. We could find ourselves living in the hellish equivalent of Bagdad or Beirut or Gaza or Mogadishu. Every disgruntled sociopath would get a gun and once the shooting starts, it would be very difficult to stop. After a while, people would shoot without any clear recollection of why they are even killing. And by the way, I can’t find any teaching by our Savior which could fairly be used to justify the achievement of social change in democracy through resort to vigilante murder. 1 Peter 2:13, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men; whether to the king, as supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” Romans 13:1, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” It creates no exception to these passages when some authorities are corrupt or some laws unjust. The same corruption and injustice were just as prevalent in Peter and Paul’s time.
Anarchy is a human teaching. It is product of the Fall. It is not a fruit of the Spirit. It is totally antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Judges 17:6, “In those days Israel had no king; every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Matthew 15:9, “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” Ephesians 4:14, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”
Jurisprudence is the philosophy of law and the jurisprudential tradition concerning civil disobedience in Western democracies has long been to legitimize such misconduct when three criteria were met: The unlawful act must be non-violent; it must be committed in the public interest rather than for personal gain; and the actor must submit himself to the jurisdiction of the state for prosecution. Shooting abortionists fails as legitimate civil disobedience because it violates the first principle.
The civil rights struggle to win equality of opportunity for African Americans was won the moment the black community decided to rally behind the peaceful activism of Martin Luther King. It would just have surely have been lost had they chosen to follow the violent activism of the Black Panthers or Malcolm X.
It annoys me beyond words that there are even a few people in our movement to whom this painfully self-evident truth needs to be explained. I have now wasted far more time on this ridiculous issue than I can possibly defend. People who need this explained to them are probably not people with whom we could ever win an argument. I shall, therefore, say no more on the subject.