Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Thoughts on Pro-Choice Violence Site

Today's story:
Human Life International has revised and updated its web site that chronicles violent, illegal and harassing actions by abortion practitioners and abortion supporters.

HLI staffer Dr. Brian Clowes, director of research for the pro-life group and the lead researcher for HLI’s “Pro-Choice Violence” project, says the web site provides extensive research on the surprising amount of violence perpetrated by abortion practitioners and the proponents of “choice,” compared to the relatively few violent crimes committed by “pro-life” advocates.

. . .

“The point of this project is not to demonize any person who defends the false ‘right’ to choose abortion, it is to set the story straight,” Clowes added. “Countless television shows hold up an archetype of the loud, abusive, or even violent pro-lifer attacking the well-intentioned, heroic abortionist who is supposedly just trying to help women. News reports dwell on the real and sometimes fabricated crimes against abortionists, and routinely refuse to cover real crimes committed by those who either perform abortions or use violence to intimidate pro-lifers.”
First of all, I had visited the site prior to the update, and it is much better organized now. So, well done. And there is definitely a lot of useful information, such as the list of maternal deaths from legal abortions.

But I'm ambivalent about the basic concept: clearing the collective pro-life name by pointing out that pro-choicers are worse.

In a Facebook conversation with a pro-choice friend the other day, I wrote:
No movement-- including pro-life and pro-choice-- should be judged by its extremist fringe. If that were the rule, a lot of historical movements that we look upon favorably would be screwed. Unfortunately, whenever a cause gets large enough, you hit a critical mass where some nutjob is inevitably going to join and ruin things for everyone else...
In short, we really need to move beyond the ad hominem attacks. And sometimes, the best way to do that may be to ignore them, and just go about helping mothers and babies in need.

I realize that Human Life International is not at all suggesting that every abortion supporter is a violent criminal. And they may figure that the media is so biased that there is no other way for them to effectively make their ultimate point, which is that the pro-life movement is a relatively peaceful one. Still, I'm uneasy about the direction of this debate.

Maybe an analogy will help. It's akin to a certain religious flamewar that has repeated itself on countless threads across the internet. It goes something like this: "Look at the Crusades!" "Oh YEAH? Stalin was an atheist and he killed millions of people!" "Oh YEAH? Well the Conquistadors..." and on and on, the implicit idea being that somehow, whoever leaves the thread with the lower body count must hold the key to the meaning of life. Neither is accusing the other of personally being a killer, but it's still not a terribly productive conversation, if you ask me.

What say our readers?


Kelsey said...

LOTS of thoughtful comments coming in on facebook!

MoonChild02 said...

I hope you don't mind, I just saw this on Stand For Life, and thought I would post my opinion.

I think the website "Pro-Choice Violence" is just proof that those who have been associated with the pro-life movement are not the only ones who have been reported to engage in violence. It also definitely stands to the fact that, since abortion has been legalized, the violence against women has become worse, not better like pro-choice claims.

When people claim that pro-life is violent, I do tell them that those people are a fringe minority that we don't consider part of our movement, just as they don't consider the violent pro-choicers as part of theirs. If they hand me evidence of pro-life being a violent movement, I hand them back the proof that pro-choice has been as well.

There is no winning the war with these numbers, but at least it can help to stop them from claiming that a few violent people represents the whole of any movement. Both sides have had bad people in them, and that needs to be pointed out when one side starts in with the, "But your side is violent," argument.

Kelsey said...

Of course I don't mind. Welcome aboard! I agree with most of what you're saying, especially the last paragraph.

Nulono said...

The pro-choicers have a body count of around 52 million. There, beat that.

Abolitionist said...

I at onetime saw an MSNBC documentary on the Tiller shooting. They essentially blamed pro lifers for it, because they claimed our message was "spreading hate." I think HLI's site is a great idea though I wouldn't rely on it for an argument, just like how pro-choicers SHOULDN'T but DO rely on clinic shootings for their arguments.