MORE ON RHETORIC
by Judie Brown
copyright 1995 American Life League, P.O. Box 1350, Stafford, VA 22555
On December 30, 1994, John Salvi III went on a rampage at two abortion
clinics and shot seven clinic workers, killing two of them. Let's
examine some of the reactions to this tragedy.
Let's play a game: "Who Said This?"
* "I do not in any way, form or fashion want to give the increasingly
vocal lunatic fringe of the right-to-life movement a public forum to
promote their vigilante views"--Bill Price, President of Texans United
for Life, giving his reason for not holding a rally to observe the
anniversary of the Roe v. Wade/ Doe v. Bolton decisions; instead,
Price urged pro-lifers to attend memorial Masses together.
* "Cardinal Mahony or Pat Robertson's saying from a pulpit that
abortion takes a life in no way encourages violence at clinics.
Instead of issuing wild charges against people they disagree with,
Planned Parenthood might examine how much its own language of
euphemism--'reproductive rights,' 'pro-choice'--has helped desensitize
people faced with crisis or inconvenient pregnancies"--Colman
McCarthy, Washington Post Writers Group.
* "It appears that Planned Parenthood wants to rewrite the message
Christians of all confessions are obligated to bring to contemporary
culture. Rather than follow our faith and speak the truth that
abortion is killing, they want us to follow their agenda and say
perhaps 'Abortion is . . . unpleasant.' And they want the government
to enforce their program of religious cleansing.
"As a lawyer, an American and a Catholic, I refuse"--Keith A.
Fournier, executive director of the American Center for Law and
Go back to basics
Bill Price reacted to a heinous crime committed by a mentally deranged
man, but he may well have caused a reaction in his community that
could please the providers of abortion while not effectively
responding to the reality of the moment. After all, the moment an
abortion is committed, a child dies. Salvi's action is not a reason to
forego the opportunity for public prayer for a nation badly in need of
How do we respond?
We cannot undo acts of madness, but we can remember why we are pro-
life. If there were no child in the womb, there would be no need to
mask the killing of that child in the euphemistic terms cited by
Colman McCarthy; there would be no women suffering the dreadful after-
effects of abortion, no fathers violently disconnected from their
flesh and blood, no grandparents to weep in the wee hours of the
morning over children they will never hold, never hug, never spoil.
We must, in love and kindness, without anger and with charity, stand
up for those who need our voices, our prayers and our presence in this
world. We simply cannot stand aside, and we will not do so.
No apologies, not now, not ever
In closing, let me quote Mary Senander, a good writer, a staunch pro-
life leader, but most of all a woman who has stood on the front lines
for as long as I can remember, and has always done so with a smile:
"I won't apologize for the mentally unbalanced man who killed two
Brookline, Mass., abortion clinic employees. . . . There will always
be someone who, for whatever reason, goes off the edge in a religious
or political frenzy.
"Nor will I endure taunts that antiabortion rhetoric is so
inflammatory that it incites people to teeter off that edge. The
authentic pro-life movement is based on unwavering reverence for life.
Scripture warns, "Thou shalt not kill," even as we are admonished "to
rescue those being led to slaughter." By his actions, John Salvi III
disqualified himself from this movement.
"Broad-brush attempts to paint prolifers as "violent" and "radical"
are biased and dishonest. No one assumes that all postal workers are
radical and violent because of a few who went on shooting sprees.
"Besides, even if someone with a particular political or religious
position goes over the edge, the resulting flak should not intimidate
or distract others holding these positions. Martin Luther King was
neither apologetic for nor silenced by black militants.
"If something is worth standing for, it's worth standing firm."
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Copyright (c) American Life League