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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

Joliet Illinois




Priests for Life
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