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Inciting Violence


Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director of Priests for Life

October 11, 1999


States all over the country are passing bans on the partial-birth abortion procedure. Legislators in Missouri recently voted to override their Governor's veto of such legislation.

The next step on the part of pro-abortion forces was to use the Court system to stop the law from taking effect. (Supporters of abortion know that they cannot get support for their extreme views from the public, so seek help from a handful of judges instead.)

What should really catch our attention, though, is one of the reasons that the Governor of Missouri gave for his veto of the partial-birth abortion ban. The Governor was reported to say that the legislation would constitute an open invitation to violence against abortion providers.

Now let me get this straight.

Legislation which prohibits an act of violence against a baby is bad, because it invites people to kill those who kill the baby? I wonder how many other acts of violence should therefore be permitted under law so that people won't feel justified in killing those who carry them out. This is upside-down thinking if there ever was such a thing.

Abortion supporters have been using this line for a while. I myself have been accused of inflaming violence simply because I write and preach that abortion is "killing."

Let's go back a few decades in history. When Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was exposing racial injustice and mobilizing people to correct it, he received a letter from eight Alabama clergymen. Part of the letter read,

"Just as we formerly pointed out that 'hatred and violence have no sanction in our religious and political traditions,' we also point out that such actions as incite to hatred and violence, however technically peaceful those actions may be, have not contributed to the resolution of our local problems.

Dr. King responded with his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, in which he wrote,

"In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquiries precipitated the act by the misguided populace in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this like condemning Jesus because his unique God -consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the Federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights because the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber."

In our day, what actually promotes violence is the pro-choice mentality. When someone kills an abortion provider, he/she is practicing what pro-choicers have preached for decades: that sometimes it is OK to choose to end a life to solve a problem.

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