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Violent Protests Defeat Purpose of Pro-Life

The author of "Violence Against Abortion Clinics Uncivil" [Nov. 2] condemns the murder of the abortionist Dr. Gunn in Florida last year. Most members of the pro-life movement would agree wholeheartedly. To understand why this is so, one must look at the foundations of the pro-life position. The pro-life philosophy contends that life has inherent worth. A human being, because he is human, is therefore precious regardless of other circumstances. This movement calls for human dignity for all, including the unborn, the aged, the informed, the mentally and physically handicapped and the poor. Every life is sacred. In the previous article, the question was asked by a pro-life publisher concerning Gunn, "Was his life really more valuable than the lives of his victims?" For pro-lifers, the answer to this question is emphatically no. Yet neither is his life less precious than the unborn child, and taking either life is wrong. For the pro-lifer, the murder of the abortionist contradicts the foundations of what he or she believes. Murder is never acceptable.

It is unfair to characterize this very large movement by the actions of a few extreme members of it. A similar logic would say that since some parents molest their children, all parents are child-molesters. While you may think this is an extreme parallel, it actually is not. Any pro-lifer who resorts to murder, even in the misguided notion that it helps the unborn, has betrayed the pro-life philosophy. Even if the unborn would benefit, the ends do not justify the means. The pro-lifer who turns to murder, like the abortionist, is guilty of taking human life.

To the pro-lifer, this is a war to save the nation's pre-born children. The author of "Violence Against Abortion Clinics Uncivil" assumes that abortion being legal makes its actions acceptable. As history has shown us, this is not necessarily the case. Hitler's persecution and execution of Jews and other minorities was well within German law. So, too, was the slavery which mars our own nation's past. The laws that protected these practices could not make them just. To the pro-lifer, the present crisis over the defenseless unborn is no different. The pro-life movement, then, sees that members of our society, fellow human-beings, are being destroyed because they can not defend themselves. It is therefore left to the respect-life groups through education, lobbying, or sidewalk counseling, to be those children's defense.

I present the true pro-life position in light of the somewhat distorted interpretations which have received the attention of the press. Most pro-lifers do believe in nonviolent protest. The majority of the others, who believe that barricading clinics or picketing are necessary to defend the unborn, do not condone the taking of human life. Admittedly, there are a few who have lost touch with the pro-life ideals and have turned to violence. Yet, this is not what the pro-life movement is about. The pro-life movement asserts that all people require respect, dignity and life.

Susan Weakland '94

President, MIT Pro-Life