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A Note on Terrorism and the Pro-Life Movement

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jun 03, 2009

How quick people are to redefine words to suit their own purposes! In both public statements and private correspondence, radical anti-lifers and squeamish pro-lifers alike have fallen into the habit of calling acts of violence against abortionists “terrorism” and defining those who commit them as “terrorists”. In reality, such violence is the very opposite of terrorism.

That doesn’t make it right. As I wrote yesterday, and as Phil Lawler explained even more forcefully, pro-lifers have very strong reasons for opposing vigilante action against abortionists. But not all violence is terrorism. Rather, the unique quality of terrorism is that its violence is deliberately directed against random (and therefore usually innocent) targets. Its purpose is not so much to wage war on the guilty as to force an opposing nation or culture into submission by engendering fear of unpredictable mayhem among those who have no reason to expect to be attacked.

There is nothing whatsoever that is either random or unpredictable about violence against abortionists. It is critical that our society wake up and grasp this point. Doctors who routinely put to death unborn children will inevitably (and rightly) make large numbers of people very angry, and they will further breed both hatred and contempt among the relatively few pro-lifers who lack serious spiritual grounding. Even more to the point, this hatred and contempt is likely to reach levels of ferocious intensity among those who have been personally victimized by abortionists, especially among fathers who did not want their babies to die, or among brothers and friends to women who, after the fact, realize they have been very seriously victimized.

Given this state of affairs, the wonder is that there has been so little violence against abortionists to date. Surely this is a genuinely super-human tribute to the deep religious convictions of the pro-life community. When faced with the unspeakable violence of abortion, the cause of antagonism is obvious and the target is predictable. I have already said that any resulting physical attack is deplorable. But it is also the very antithesis of terrorism.

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