Sunday, May 31, 2009

If you call yourself "pro-life" and you aren't protesting violence against clinics, then your name is a lie.

It is not terribly surprising, though it is very frightening and very sad, that yet another doctor who provided women with safe and legal abortions has been gunned down by the so-called "pro-life" movement. There are a lot of people who call themselves "pro-life" and who genuinely believe in protecting all human life; these people very often do not push to hinder women's access to abortion or to legislate against it because they understand that women have always had abortions, whether they've been safe or not, and that women will continue to have abortions even if abortion is outlawed - in which case, many women will have lasting health problems and many will die. These truly pro-life people also recognize that the business of terminating a pregnancy, no matter how much it may trouble them, is only *their* business if it is *their* pregnancy.

But reproductive rights aside, what do you call a movement that knows its members are actively targeting and commiting acts of intimidation and violence upon those it opposes? Certainly not "pro-life." Video-taping Planned Parenthood workers and putting the license plate numbers of Planned Parenthood clients on the internet is intimidation with the threat of violence. Driving cars into clinics (which was, believe it or not, defended as a "non-violent protest"), shooting doctors, and other clinic violence is more extreme, but such acts are on the same spectrum of behavior aimed at forcing someone else to behave as you would wish them to.

If I sound a little less diplomatic than I might normally sound, it's because I am furious that people are still being told by their movement and their "churches" that pretend to honor God that violence is an acceptable response. And any members of this movement or these "churches" who do not actively and without qualification oppose such actions are part of the problem, and the blood is on their hands. This just confirms what many of us already knew: for many of these people, life is not the issue. The issue is control.

Yes, I'm looking at you, Leslee Unruh, Randall Terry, and others.