Today’s Courier Herald Column:
In March of this year, a series of break-ins at Doctors offices in Atlanta resulted in the thefts of several laptops. In each case, valuables in plain sight were passed over. Only the laptops, and only the ones in the executive offices – the ones which would likely contain sensitive data, were stolen. The locations of these thefts were doctors’ offices specializing in OBGYN practices, and the Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, the association for doctors specializing in women’s care in the state.
In May, there were fires. Arson is suspected at OBGYN clinics in both Cobb and Gwinnett counties just days apart. Two men were seen leaving the building just as the Cobb County fire broke out. It was set at 10am, in an office building where others not working for the clinic worked as well. It seems that the protection of “innocent life” has its limits, and does not extend to those who work in offices nearby but unrelated to women’s clinics.
Not all of those who appear to have been the targets of a coordinated terror campaign perform abortions. Four of the Five, however, all visited the State Capitol during the recent debate over the bill which restricts abortions to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, known as the “fetal pain” bill.
There were much publicized political threats made during the debate of the bill. Those who spoke in opposition and even those who suggested amending the bill were told they would receive primary opposition. Such threats have become the mainstay of abortion politics, despite the threats having less and less teeth each time they are made. Few of those targeted during the debate received primary opposition this year.
Threats for political opposition are part of the process. Threats that go beyond politics are not. Some of those who spoke out against the bill claim to have received threats of physical violence and even death threats. The robberies and fires this spring appear to indicate that some have now decided to move the battle from the political and judicial realm and into vigilante terrorism.
Those of us who are pro-life must reject these tactics. We must rebuke those who advocate them. Terrorism spawned by zealotry should be no more acceptable from those who share our own houses of worship than by those of other religions.
Threatening experts who speak out on what complications will arise if a bill is passed unamended is unacceptable. Setting fire to a crowded office building filled with innocent workers is hypocritical of a desire to protect innocent life.
There was a time, now roughly two decades ago, when pro-life causes were gaining in public opinion polls in this country. The spoken goal then was to win the hearts and minds of the citizenry. The peak was the passage of the federal partial birth abortion ban in 2003, after an earlier attempt in 1995 was vetoed. The bill brought those together who disagreed on many facets of what may happen during the early term of a pregnancy to agree that killing a viable baby as it is delivered is wrong.
Today, the pro-life community seems less interested in finding agreements and common ground that it does in determining how narrow the ground they are willing to accept will be. The movement, in many cases, has been hijacked by ideologues who are more concerned about promoting their direct political fiefdoms than they are about saving the babies that they can through incremental change. Those who are then frustrated with the stalemate at the legislative level appear to have justified their own personal crusade against those they determine are in opposition through criminal acts.
Acts of violence – crimes – will not win hearts and minds. Instead, they are much more likely to turn sympathetic and like minded individuals away from the cause. The few who stoop to terroristic acts continue to make it less likely that a public which has lived with the Roe v Wade decision for three decades will ever decide to overturn it as the law of the land.
Americans don’t give in to terrorists. Even domestic ones.
Those who broke into the medical offices of doctors who dared speak about actual medical conditions and complications which can result after 20 weeks of pregnancy have unequivocally harmed the pro-life movement. Those who set the fires endangering innocent life are traitors to their cause.
We have long stopped winning hearts and minds on this issue. The acts of a few now stand to lose even more.