Respect Sidewalk Rescuers
[Note: We recently came across this letter to the editor which
appeared in the National Catholic Register in December of 1999. It raises an
important point for our consideration.]
The Register's …[recent article on prayer vigils at abortion mills]…
insinuated that …[the approach being described]… shows the face of Christ to
everyone involved with abortion while Operation Rescue had a "take-no-prisoners"
style. This is a very false and prejudicial characterization of rescues and the
rescue movement. When a person lays his body down before the door of an abortion
center, he is performing a sacrificial act of love in defense of the unborn
scheduled to die and also for the mother who is about to aid in the killing her
own child. The rescue movement was never about militancy or "taking no
prisoners." No matter the media image, rescuers were and are extremely peaceful
and loving and bore the brunt of excessive police brutality in their efforts to
protect the unborn. A rescue is a further act of defense for the unborn - it is
a loving and necessary act that says we will, with complete nonviolence, not
simply allow the unborn to be put to death.
While the rescue movement is accused of militancy by its enemies, it is
especially painful to hear pro-lifers insinuate that rescues are not prayerful
or loving actions. We should not get sucked into bashing one pro-life activity
in order to promote our own.
It's easy to bash rescues nowadays since so few of them take place because
the federal government did all it could to shut the rescue movement down, thus
making rescues unpopular because of the sacrifices it takes to do them. All that
is needed to do rescues now is courage. As a front page Register article in the
same issue demonstrates ("Court Restricts Pro-Lifers Who Carry Graphic Signs"),
perhaps even picketing with the signs of aborted babies will become illegal if
the California courts have their way. Will we then hear pro-lifers criticize
picketing and accuse it of being un-Christlike witness in favor of staying in
Church and praying?
Despite…[their] loving presence, even [those who simply stand and pray have
been] accused of harassing women and …[are] being sued by the National
Organization for Women under RICO [Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations
Act] and the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. Years ago no one ever
pitted rescues against sidewalk counseling or vice versa. Both are acts of love
in defense of life.
Monica Migliorino Miller
Citizens for a Pro-Life Society