I take my cue for this article from the recent killing of two abortuary receptionists in Boston.
I quote from an essay by Charles Rice, a trustworthy pro-life law professor at the University of Notre Dame, published in The Wanderer, September 1, 1994.
He is writing in the context and circumstances of the United States but the disintegration in the civil and moral order in Canada due to abortion is much the same as in the U.S.
Here are some of the excerpts I liked in his article:
[I]t is not surprising that the legalized infliction of violence, in abortion, has caused some to respond wrongly, in kind. This is so because Roe v. Wade has loosened the bonds of civil order by legalizing the intentional killing of the innocent.
The human law cannot validly permit murder. Despite the decree of the Supreme Court, abortuaries, which are murder factories, have no moral right to exist…[I]t does not follow from the injustice of Roe v. Wade that laws forbidding the killing of abortionists are unjust.
[T]he right to defend oneself or another does not authorize the intentional killing of the aggressor.
In self-defence or defence of others, against an aggressor, the intent must be to defend, rather than to kill.
St. Thomas, quoting St. Augustine, said that a man who, without exercising public authority, kills an evildoer, shall be judged guilty of murder, and all the more, since he has dared to usurp a power which God has not given him (Summa Theologiae, II., q.64, art. 3)
The divine prohibition of intentional and direct killing apart from the just war, including justified rebellion, and capital punishment, is absolute.
In any event, the use of violence, whether lethal or non-lethal, against abortuaries and abortionists is unjustified on several prudential grounds. It is not the most effective way to save the lives of unborn children threatened by abortion. It is counterproductive in that it distracts attention from the real, and spiritual, nature of the problem, and it diverts pro-life efforts away from more useful approaches. Moreover, it accelerates the disintegration of the civil order with predictably harmful impact on the common good.
The use of violence in the pro-life cause must be utterly rejected. If we attempt to combat the abortion movement with force, we oppose its strongest weapon, the coercive power of the state, with our weakest. The most effective onsite activity in defense of unborn children is legal prayer and counselling. That activity does save lives and it can be carried on day after day.
Nonviolent rescues have probably done more than anything else to bring the reality of abortion to public attention. Pursuant to the necessity defense, they ought to be considered legal as well as moral. However, as indicated in Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, decided on June 30th, 1994, the law is a stacked deck in this respect. The Supreme Court will distort even settled legal principles to insulate abortionists from interference and even annoyance by pro-life advocates. It will almost certainly become increasingly difficult to carry on even peaceful, non-obstructive prayer and counselling efforts.
As the anti-life state increases its pressure against all forms of pro-life advocacy, we can expect more opponents of abortion to respond with violence as the only recourse. But now more than ever, the pro-life movement must reject all forms of violence even against baby killers and their abortuaries.
What is wrong in the pro-life movement is not that we have not bombed or shot. What is wrong is that we have not spoken the truth and we have not prayed enough.
It is therefore more important than ever to reject violence in the pro-life cause. Instead, we should employ our strongest weapons: the truth and prayer.