I have two objections to the bombing of abortion clinics. The first is, that it is morally wrong. Nobody has the right to take into his or her hands the decision to destroy the property of others. What is being done in the clinics is morally wrong and should be stopped or prevented by the proper authorities.
But for a private individual to decide that “this is a war” and therefore we have the right to destroy the property of the enemy is far beyond the terms of reference of any individual or group which does not have a mandate from the people.
So, I want to state categorically that I not only do not agree with the action but I condemn it in the strongest terms as being unjust and immoral.
Moral ends do not justify immoral means
This age-long principle of moral theology — not just Catholic theology — is still valid. So, not only do I denounce the bombing of clinics or any violence to attain just and praiseworthy ends — even the saving of the lives of unborn babies — I also condemn any immoral action. This includes telling lies.
I have heard and read that there are people in the U.S., very ardent defenders of the unborn, who think it is moral and praiseworthy to phone and say they are pregnant when they are not and even make appointments to have an abortion. The object of this exercise it to confuse the pro-abortionists and make things difficult for them.
I am all for making things difficult for them but within the Commandments of God and lying is against the Eight Commandment. So, while telling a lie is not in the same category as blowing up a clinic, it is an immoral act and is therefore wrong, even if the end is a worthy one — the saving of the lives of unborn babies.
We must keep our principles right
We, who are called pro-lifers, believe that abortion is wrong because it is the killing of an innocent human being and is therefore against the laws of God. That — as far as I am concerned — is our chief (and, probably, only) reason for taking the stand that we do. But God has more than one law and to break one of His laws in order to defend another cannot be right morally.
I know that this is sometimes difficult to accept but it is a basic truth and to flaunt it is to open the door to all kinds of wrong actions which are prejudicial to any just cause.
My second reason
I said at the beginning that I have two reasons for being against the bombings of abortion clinics — and I nearly forgot the second. It is this.
When people hear and read that a clinic has been bombed or destroyed they tend to lump it all under one heading — it must be those pro-lifers! So, it gives the entire pro-life movement a bad name.
I have been closely connected with the Pro-life Movement for more than ten years and have attended more meetings that I can count. Never once have I heard it suggested that violence of any kind should be even entertained as an antidote to abortion. Yet, when it is discovered that the perpetrators of the bombings are “fanatics” or belong to some fanatical group, the tendency remains to look askance at any and every pro-life group and “just to wonder.”
I am all for picketing and — in order to make a point — for civil disobedience, provided it does not involve violence. And excellent example of this was the “arrest” of some pro-life picketers recently for sitting on the steps outside the Morgentaler Clinic and “obstructing entrances.”
The point they were making was that the police arrested them for such a minor infringement of the law while babies were being killed inside in defiance not only of the Law of God but of the law of the land.
It is interesting to note that just recently (January 1985) one of the auxiliary bishops of New York, who is black, was arrested for “obstructing passage” outside the South African Consulate where he was protesting apartheid. In Detroit, the Mayor of the City was arrested on the same charge.
Violence is not the answer
So, while I fully support those who brave the weather and give their often valuable time to picketing outside the abortuary and get arrested for non-violent civil disobedience, I unequivocally condemn and acts or words which break the laws of God. The shocking violence of abortion will never be stopped by the use of another type of violence.