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The Tidings

August 12, 1994

GUEST EDITORIAL

Violence Cuts Off Chance for Conversion

By Rev. Frank A. Pavone

The shooting of abortionists is wrong. It is also unnecessary. We do not need guns to fight abortion. The weapons we have are truth and love: the truth which reveals the dignity of life and the ugliness of abortion, and the love which provides life-giving alternatives to mothers tempted to have abortions. Pro-lifers use these weapons every day, and they work. Statistically, for every 50 hours of one person's pro-life work, a life is saved…[pro-lifers] who have turned to violence have forgotten the power of truth and love. They have forgotten that peaceful, direct action does work.

I am saddened by the shooting of abortion providers because I keep thinking of several special people I know who used to provide abortion but have stopped doing so and have repented of their evil deeds. They have turned to God, asked forgiveness, and now speak out against abortion. They could have never had the joy of conversion if they had been shot.

Joy Davis provided abortions for 12 years in Alabama and Mississippi. When she came to see the wrong of her actions, to whom did she turn? She went to the very people who demonstrated in front of the abortion mill. When I asked her why, she told me, "I knew that they knew my pain, and really cared about me." It wasn't bullets. It was care.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a leading abortionist, turned away from abortion on scientific grounds. He was an atheist. He no longer is. In a talk in Irvine this past April he explained, "Lecturing to pro-life audiences…I began to feel an infusion (and that's the only way I can describe it) of love and spirituality coming from these audiences, from all of you into me…and gradually, the hard shell of atheism began to crack." Love did that, not bullets.

I can cite other examples as well. Joe Scheidler's Pro-Life Action League has regular gatherings of former abortion providers who have seen the light and speak out at these conferences. All violence is wrong. The response to the July 29 tragedy is not to further protect the abortion industry, but rather to reject all violence, including abortion itself. The response is for America to rise up and bring an end to the 4400 tragedies a day which we call abortion. The response is simply to choose life.

Father Frank A. Pavone is the national director of Priests for Life.

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