Sunday, September 27, 2009

On Protesting Abortion

"Do you remember how you felt after 9/11? When all those innocent people, over 3,000 of them, were killed in that vicious act of political violence? Do you remember how you felt seeing the posters of the loved ones who were missing? It broke my heart, and I'm sure it broke yours too. Well, I feel exactly the same way about the 4,000 babies who are viciously killed in abortion clinics every day throughout America. It's shameful, it's disgusting, and I don't understand why more people's hearts aren't broken by it." (A.J. MacDonald, Jr.)

"The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intervene…" (Isaiah 59:15-16).

Non-violent sit-in style protests were outlawed for the first time in America in 1994, when the U.S. Congress passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Antiabortion activists who were practicing sit-in protests in order to block the entrances of abortion clinics—who were being removed, cited, and fined around $100.00 for trespassing—were, after passage of the F.A.C.E. Act in 1994, subject to a $10,000 fine and six months in federal prison for their first offense.

The large scale, effectual, non-violent sit-in protests engaged in by the antiabortion group Operation Rescue is what led to the passage of the F.A.C.E. Act. The group would peacefully block clinic entrances in order to shut down the abortion clinics' baby-killing business.

Having grown up during the late sixties and early seventies, I was very familiar with non-violent sit-in style protests. They were a common protest tactic during those years, engaged in both by civil rights activists and anti-war protesters. Passive resistance was thought to be a better tactic than violence.

The F.A.C.E. Act was passed in order to curb incidents of antiabortion violence, which were rising at the time, but the new law also squelched the traditional, non-violent sit-in protests as well. No antiabortion protester who had obligations (like having a family and having bills to pay) could afford the new cost of peacefully blocking an abortion clinic's entrance ($10,000 and six months in federal prison).

This new law effectively shut down the serious and very effective non-violent protests, leaving only two other options: peaceful protests that wouldn't interfere with the abortionist's baby-killing business and the violent protests that would. Both kinds of protests continue to this day, but the non-violent sit-in protests, which were so effective, have all but ceased.

The controversy over abortion continues to this day because the issue was removed from the political arena to the courts. Had the abortion issue been left up to the voters of each state, as it should have been, the issue never would have become as volatile as it has. If the people of New York had wanted to legalize abortion in their state, then that would have been their business; and if the people of Kansas had wanted abortion to remain illegal in their state, then that would have been their business too. As it stands now, and as it's stood for more than thirty years, abortion on demand is required, by a (legally sketchy) U.S. Supreme Court decision, to be legally available throughout the land (think McAbortion or Wal-Abortion here) regardless of what the people of the various states might want, because the U.S. Supreme Court says that this is the right thing to do.

But killing a child before it is born is never the right thing to do, regardless of who says that it is.

The goal of Operation Rescue's non-violent sit-in style protests was to put the abortion clinics out of business; if not permanently, then at least for a few days. As I said in a previous post below, when I first heard that late-term abortionist specialist George Tiller of Wichita, Kansas had been killed—gunned down in his "church"—I was surprised; I didn't realize his clinic was still open and that he was still in the baby-killing business. But now his clinic is closed; probably for good. And he is no longer practicing or profiting from his bloody trade. (Tiller's "church" is no longer profiting from his bloody trade either, if he was contributing to it financially.)

There is an important, if unsettling, political lesson to be learned from this: violence works.

I am opposed to violence (from the Latin: violentus, meaning: to violate). But I am not opposed to what I would consider the use of force (from the Latin: fortis, meaning: strong) to defend innocent human lives. In regard to abortion in America, I believe some measure of force would be legitimate only after all legal and non-violent means available to protect those innocent human lives had first been completely and totally exhausted. I would consider the use of deadly force an ultimate—something-to-be-avoided-at-all-costs—last resort, to be used only the direst of circumstances. Regarding abortion in America, I don't think we've reached these direst of circumstances yet, although the circumstances surrounding late-term abortion specialist George Tiller probably came closest to it. I, for one, was not the least bit saddened by news of Tiller's death; he was, after all, in the death business.

You might think I'm employing a bit of semantics by making a distinction between violence and force, but I'm not. Think about it. A police officer who guns down someone who is threatening to kill an innocent person uses force, not violence. Likewise, when someone is threatening to kill (or is in the act of killing) an innocent person and no legally authorized person is able to stop them—for whatever reasons, but especially, in regard to abortion, after all legal and non-violent means to stop them have been completely and totally exhausted—the (unauthorized) private individual who uses force to stop them is using force, not violence.

Violence is what is perpetrated on the innocent unborn in America every day—around 4,000 times each day.

Do you remember how you felt after 9/11? When all those innocent people, over 3,000 of them, were killed in that vicious act of political violence? Do you remember how you felt seeing the posters of the loved ones who were missing? It broke my heart, and I'm sure it broke yours too. Well, I feel exactly the same way about the 4,000 babies who are viciously killed in abortion clinics every day throughout America. It's shameful, it's disgusting, and I don't understand why more people's hearts aren't broken by it. We have truly become a nation without a heart and without a soul. And any nation that destroys its posterity doesn't deserve to have posterity.


"God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince." Arise, O God, judge the earth; for to thee belong all the nations!" (Psalm 82)

"For if you truly amend your ways and your doings, if you truly execute justice one with another, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own hurt, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever." (Jeremiah 7:5)

"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness. No one enters suit justly, no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity. They hatch adders' eggs, they weave the spider's web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one which is crushed a viper is hatched. Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways. The way of peace they know not, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked, no one who goes in them knows peace. Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we look for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. We grope for the wall like the blind, we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men. We all growl like bears, we moan and moan like doves; we look for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: transgressing, and denying the Lord, and turning away from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words. Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intervene; then his own arm brought him victory, and his righteousness upheld him. He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in fury as a mantle. According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, requital to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render requital. So they shall fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the Lord drives. "And he will come to Zion as Redeemer, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression, says the Lord. "And as for me, this is my covenant with them, says the Lord: my spirit which is upon you, and my words which I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your children, or out of the mouth of your children's children, says the Lord, from this time forth and for evermore." (Isaiah 59)

All quotations from the Bible have been taken from the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition; Catholic Biblical Association (Great Britain), Revised A.D. 1952 (Apocrypha Revised A.D. 1957). New York: National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA, 1997, c1994.

NOTE: I (the author) hereby grant(s) the full reproduction rights of this article to anyone who wishes to distribute it freely by any means. © 2009 A. J. MacDonald, Jr.

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