Of course abortion is not to be taken lightly. Nobody that I know would argue with that.
But the right to an abortion remains one of the most contentious issues in our society, dividing us into fiercely confrontational factions.
As I ponder the opposing views, I wonder what our motivations might really be.
Are we trying to make our world a better place? Or are we just congratulating ourselves on our beliefs and demonizing those who dare to disagree with us? It seems to me that most of us humans are like the Pharisee who prayed:
I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
Is that the human weakness some media moguls and politicians are exploiting? Are they inciting hatred and divisiveness for their own selfish ends? It certainly seems so.
When an obviously unbalanced individual shoots up a Planned Parenthood facility, leaving three innocent people dead and several others wounded, it’s time to question the tone of our public discourse.
Terrorism directed at abortion providers is not new. For decades, doctors and clinics have been targeted by avenging crusaders who have been led to believe they’re doing God’s work. The trail of dead and wounded is heart breaking.
Murder in the name of the Lord. What a concept!
I’m sure the picketers and protesters and – yes – even the murderers are convinced they’re morally justified. But so do the abortion providers and most of the women seeking an abortion. Nobody is deliberately “killing babies.”
If the anti-abortion crusaders could be persuaded to recognize the reasons for most abortions, they – some of them anyway – might respond with sympathy instead of mindless vitriol and violence.
I know you might say women have a right to do what they wish with their own bodies, regardless. And I personally think that’s a valid argument. But you will never persuade the “pro-life” faction of that. They see themselves as protectors of helpless infants who are yet to be born.
Don’t get me wrong. I am as furious as you are at the assassins and I could easily find words to demonize them. But I know in my heart of hearts that’s not going to help eradicate the plague of violence against abortion providers.
Perhaps nothing will.
But responsible media outlets could possibly change some minds by showing the other side of the story, by persuading the potential avengers to walk the proverbial mile in the shoes of those women who go to the clinics.
I know, it’s a long shot. But it might be the best way to counter the anti-abortion rhetoric on Fox News and right-wing talk radio.
I am sure I am not the only one who felt a twinge of pity for the befuddled stray creature that I saw on TV, facing prosecution for murder.
But how can we have anything but contempt for the politicians and media personalities who obviously drove him to such a mad act of passion with their cynical exploitation of an issue as sensitive as abortion?