The pro-life movement is once again in the position of denying any links with violent protest.
On New Year’s Eve, John Salvi, a 22-year-old hairdressing student from Hampton, N.H., walked into two separate Boston-area abortion centres and opened fire, killing two workers and injuring five others. He then climbed into his car, drove over 800 km to Norfolk, V.A., and sprayed another abortuary with 23 bullets. No one was injured.
Virginia police have turned him over to Massachusetts authorities where he faces two counts of murder.
The U.S. pro-abortion movement are attempting to portray Salvi as a rabid pro-lifer with close ties to a supposed radical wing which advocates killing. So far, however, all evidence points to a frustrated loner who took it upon himself to carry out a one-man shooting spree. Various U.S. pro-life organizations have denied having any previous ties or personal knowledge of Salvi.
Reacting to the shooting, Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, said “I’m appalled that someone has taken the law into his own hands and killed abortuary workers. This violent behaviour has no place in the struggle for justice for the unborn.”
He went on to outline CLC’s position on respect for all human life. “The pro-life response to the violence of abortion must always be peaceful and determined, always recognizing that everyone has been created by God and no one has the right to kill another human being, except in self-defense.”
Kit Holmwood, past president of the Canadian Abortion Rights Action League, was quick to capitalize on the shooting. She implied that this sort of action could well be possible in Canada and called on governments to “ensure that these fanatics don’t have a front for getting into the clinics.”
A further development has been that Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston recommended that all pro-life activism be halted until passions cooled.
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, however, have already said they are not going to call for a halt to Canadian activism. “We would certainly support people’s right to protect as long as they don’t infringe on the legal rights of others,” said Msgr. Ames Weisgerber, spokesman for the CCCB.