How to respond to the accusation that Pro-Lifers are "domestic terrorists"

Every few years, we see renewed efforts by the abortion lobby to classify the Pro-Life movement as dangerous and radical.  In 2009, for example, the Obama Administration released two documents which suggested that anti-abortion activists were among the threatening “domestic terrorist” forces ravaging America.  Janet Napolitano defended the Department of Homeland Security’s listing of anti-abortion “extremists” as a threat because, “They’ve committed bombings and the like.”  Once again, there is a movement among some abortion activists to classify Pro-Lifers as perpetrators of “domestic terrorism.”

That a small number of anti-abortion activists have committed violence cannot be denied—their actions attract the rapt attention of media outlets everywhere.  The early 1990s in particular saw a disproportionate number of violent acts committed by anti-abortion activists, and since that time four abortionists have been murdered in the United States by individuals who felt that stopping an abortionist was the best way to stop the act of abortion.  Pennsylvania abortionist Barnett Slepian, shot to death in 1998, and Kansas abortionist George Tiller, likewise shot in 2009, are the only two American abortionists who have been killed in as many decades.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life explains that abortion is an act of terrorism.  However, he also explains that the people who commit abortions and the women who undergo abortions are not terrorists.  Abortion is an act of terror effected by a group of individuals who may or may not be fully aware of the gravity of their actions.  The point is that to be Pro-Life, and not just anti-abortion, we have to hope for the good and respect the Life of every human person, regardless of his or her guilt in regard to the commission of abortion:

There is no need — nor do we have the ability — to probe the state of a person’s soul.  At Priests for Life, in fact, we minister to former abortionists, showing them the road to repentance.  And as for those who have the abortions, we operate the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard.  So this comparison is not about condemnation of any person, but rather about actions.

And that is precisely where anti-abortion extremists diverge from the Pro-Life movement.  Such individuals cannot be called “Pro-Life” because they demonstrate through violence that they do not understand the fundamental principle on which the Pro-Life movement is built – that every single Life is precious – even the Life of an abortionist.  After George Tiller’s murder, Pro-Life organizations across the nation banded together in condemnation of the act of violence.  Shaun Kenny of American Life League, for example, stated: “Today's actions were tragic, and serve as another reminder that all human Life is sacred. Pro-lifers by our nature and commitment to human rights reject violence as a means of resistance.”

Yet, abortion activists go to great pains to blur the distinct line between the teeny tiny faction of violent, anti-abortion extremists (from whom we have heard nothing since George Tiller’s death over six years ago) with the massive movement of Pro-Life Americans – hundreds of thousands of whom peacefully attend the March for Life in Washington, DC, every single year.  A prime example of abortion activists twisting the facts: the new book, “Living in the Crosshairs: The Untold Stories of Anti-Abortion Terrorism,” which seeks to cast Pro-Lifers in an outdated, wildly fictional mold of violence, aggression, intimidation, and outright terrorism. 

Standing in stark contrast to these characterizations are the actual daily efforts of the Pro-Life movement.  Take, for example, the 40 Days for Life campaigns which take place across the nation twice a year.  Through peaceful prayer and unintimidating outreach, Pro-Lifers participating in the 40 Days for Life campaigns have saved over ten thousand preborn children from the violence of abortion, all without committing one act of aggression against an abortionist or abortion mill.  Or, consider the rapidly-expanding venture of Save the Storks, which sends state of the art mobile ultrasound units to pregnancy centers across the country, who in turn take them to the streets to save babies by showing them to their mothers.  Or the team of search engine optimizers at Online for Life, who have saved over three thousand preborn children from abortion by working to ensure that pregnant mothers know about Life-affirming pregnancy options when they are researching abortion.  

In the past, we’ve talked about the lunacy of trying to fight violence with violence.  Both anti-Life and anti-abortion activists are guilty of this illogic.  And neither group can be called — by any stretch of the definition — “Pro-Life.”

As some activists attempt, yet again, to classify Pro-Lifers as terrorists, the violence of abortion continues: Juxtaposed with increasingly uncommon violence toward abortionists is the overwhelming number of abortions committed against preborn children in America every day.  The death toll since the legalization of abortion on-demand in 1973 rings at about 58 million preborn children.  58 million is a gargantuan number that is extremely difficult to visualize. Below is a video that demonstrates that number in the context of the population of the United States (note: several million abortion victims have been added to the number represented in the video since its release in 2013):