letters to surfers

what should we think of people who shoot abortionists?

by robert brow

Dear M.,

If a tyrant killed off the Canadian government, and began behaving abominably as dictator in their place, I would shoot him dead if there was the opportunity. I think I have a parable poem that suggests just that.

The question of killing abortionists is much more complex, however, and it seems to me that some pro-life advocates are harming their own case by allying themselves with people taking extreme positions.

In the book on Adultery: An Exploration of Love and Marriage my wife and I discuss the ten commandments in the first chapter. None of the ten commandments give us much content, and we are not told what murder is. Some, like the Quakers, view any kind of military action as murder. The stricter Mennonites will not even call the police for protection because the police could use a gun. Most people agree that police action, including killing murderers and airplane hijackers, may be necessary and should not be called murder. And North Americans agreed that the war to stop Hitler was necessary. They did not, however, think that the Viet Nam War was in the same category. Obviously, "murder" has to be defined before we begin discussing what to do in a particular case.

A vast proportion of North American people would agree that killing a viable fetus in the last few months of pregnancy is murder. But an equally large proportion, including me, cannot call "murder" the taking of an overnight pill that prevents the fertilized ovum from attaching itself to the womb.

Just today in Time magazine an article pointed out that no differentiation in the basic cells occurs until the fertilized ovum is implanted in the lining of the womb. Since no differentiation has occurred, the ovum is neither male nor female and has no human characteristics. The ovum admittedly has a good chance of eventually being changed into a particular human, but God arranges to have a quality control to discard at least 30% of fertilized ova. Is He the greatest murderer?

The current Pope has defined any interference with the development of a fetus as murder, including the use of the overnight pill. By taking that extreme position, the vast majority of people who could be brought on-side to vote against later abortions are confused, and more harm than good results. Most women, who could easily be persuaded to vote against later abortions, don't want to lose the protection of an overnight pill, and so get taken in by the extreme pro-choice advocates.

If only we could agree to make later abortions a criminal offence, and to revoke the licences of the doctors who perform them, we could easily save millions of unborn babies. By hitching pro-life to a position that makes no sense to a large proportion of men and women, however, the battle is lost before we begin and the killing of doctors only hardens the opposition.


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