Should breaking the law be advocated to advance the cause for life? Should violence be encouraged, condoned, or celebrated to further the cause for life? No, and no.
The pro-life movement has made great strides on the long road toward ending abortion in the United States—especially in the past few years. The zeitgeist is shifting, as evidenced by a CNN poll just last month that found 62% of Americans want abortion to be illegal in most or all circumstances. This finding dovetails nicely with the passage of the partial-birth abortion ban, ultrasound laws, and the proliferation of the 40 Days for Life peaceful prayer vigils that report hundreds of pregnant mothers turning away from the clinics and choosing life for their babies. These successes have been the culmination of countless hard-working people dedicated to tirelessly pursuing lawful avenues to bring about the end abortion in the United States.
We are winning, and should stay the course.
Even humorously suggesting a return to the era of blockading entrances to clinics or “occupying” the waiting rooms of abortion clinics leads down the slippery slope to further lawlessness: harassment, intimidation, vandalism, and eventually (and inevitably) violence. These tactics are morally wrong and produce dubious results. What is certain is that breaking the law in an effort to stop abortion tarnishes the movement, alienates those on the fence (or newcomers to the fold), and worst of all—it provides our pro-abortion opposition a speedy on-ramp to the high road and fosters a “comrades-in-arms” mentality that unifies their ranks and galvanizes public opinion in their favor.
I worked in an abortion clinic that was invaded by law-breakers. Not one pregnant mother chose life for her baby that day twenty years ago when six people attached themselves to a huge metal contraption for seven hours in the waiting room. Abortions were committed in an un-occupied part of the clinic while local law enforcement and FBI agents negotiated with the trespassers. The mood in the clinic that day, which was shared by staff and patients alike, was one of grim—but unwavering—determination. We celebrated continuing abortions during the occupation and were defiant in the face of intimidation.
There is no way I could have publicly adopted the pro-life moniker in an atmosphere of violence and disregard for law. In the nine months (it’s only been nine months!) since my personal conversion and self-identifying as pro-life I have volunteered, donated, testified, and continue to use my voice to speak up for those who cannot do so for themselves: the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.
I sincerely hope I am preaching to the choir on this issue and that the overwhelming majority of advocates of the right-to-life from conception to natural death are peaceful, law-abiding, and conscientious citizens who do not assume the title of life warrior literally.
Note: This post first appeared at SecularProLife.org and is published here with permission.