When Anti-Abortion Is Not Pro-Life

How people responded to the December 30 murders of abortion clinic workers in Massachusetts depended in large part on the ideological position of the responder. For many, it seemed, initial human revulsion at senseless slaughter was quickly mitigated by the abortion agenda itself.

Indeed, in the extreme anti-abortion camp, the response seemed to be unholy glee rather than any mourning for those who had died. Supporters of accused killer John Salvi vigiled outside the Norfolk, Virginia jail where he was held, carrying signs that read "We Love You, John" and implicitly promising more killings as they defended "justifiable homicide."

The mainstream pro-life movement moved to condemn the killings and to distance itself from murder as a tactic, but in some cases the protest left much to be desired-as in the case of the editor of a diocesan newspaper who blamed the killings on the Supreme Court, which made the Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Predictably, pro-choice and pro-abortion groups called for a total end to all clinic demonstrations, repentance on the part of all church and pro-life leaders, and renunciation of provocative language by the other side.

Most hopeful were responses from Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston and from a new California Coalition of Pro-Life Organizations. Law called for a moratorium on clinic demonstrations, a commitment to prayer for pregnant women and their children, and an opening of dialogue among "persons not accustomed to speaking to and hearing one another on this issue." The purpose of the dialogue, Law said, would be "to unite in support of alternatives for those pregnant women who are seeking an abortion."

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Sojourners Magazine March-April 1995
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