Q: How would you define a pro-life activist?
A: Somebody who believes very firmly in the value of human life and then does something about it. If you believe life is valuable, and you see life being destroyed randomly, you go out and try to stop that in a very positive and effective way.
If you were being executed tomorrow, what would you want your friends to do? Would you want them to think down the line about new laws? Would you want them to write the newspapers? Would you want them even to plan for the next election? No. You would want action that would want action that would save your life tomorrow. You would want them to intervene and rescue you.
That’s the way I see the baby in the womb. They baby needs to be saved now. So you take action that is going to be effective.
Q: What is the value of picketing an abortion centre?
A: First of all it’s good for you. It puts your energies to use positively and gives you’re an immediate victory because you are going to have some effects from it.
Secondly, it’s good for the community see it. Most people are lethargic, only concerned about their own little circle. But when they see a social problem being publicized, they think about it. They may even come and join you if they know where to go.
It’s good for abortionists to be reminded constantly that they’re doing something that is wrong. I know from them that this makes it more difficult to do the evil thing when it’s pointed out.
Q: Do you think it’s legitimate to picket an abortionist at home?
A: It’s not only legitimate, but, by their own admission, tremendously effective. A man’s home is his castle but that mean that he’s immune from living a decent life. We have had abortionists quit simply on the basis of a promised home picket. I don’t do it out of vindictiveness or to embarrass them unduly without first letting them know we’re coming.
I think we have to go public with these things. After all, this is a person who has totally violated his medical oath. He’s not a good doctor, he’s an executioner. You don’t want to go to a doctor who kills half his patients. So I think it should become public knowledge. After all they advertise. They certainly want to do that work so they shouldn’t be embarrassed by it. If they aren’t ashamed of it, why are they when we remind the neighbours of what they do?
Q: What about sit-ins at abortuaries?
A: They are certainly valid, we call them rescue missions. I see it exactly the same as going into a burning building or violating a “no trespassing” sign in someone’s backyard when a child is drowning in a swimming pool. I think you’d be obliged to go in and try to save that child.
Our goal is always to save lives. Since abortion is the taking of human life, you have an obligation to try to save that life and sometimes by very direct action.
Q: What test do you apply to determine whether a pro-life action is Christ-like?
A: I ask where would Christ be during this action? He certainly would be counseling out on the sidewalk, out on the streets. Would He go into the clinic? He went into the temple because His Father’s house was being violated. Certainly an abortion clinic has no moral right to exist. I could see Christ going in with us in a peaceful, loving way trying to save a woman from killing her child.
Some people say that doing such things like picketing an abortionists’ home doesn’t seem to be very Christ-like and yet Christ did use strong terms against people who were violating, who were hypocrites.
Q: How do you view direct action which involves interfering with abortuary property?
A: I draw the line at damage or violence of any kind for several reasons. It’s not that I really value property that much but there are other options. To make that a policy is an admission that non-violent actions don’t work. And we have closed down clinics without damaging any property.
To go into a clinic to trespass is generally a misdemeanor. But if you damage property or take anything or hurt anyone, it becomes a felony, and the misdemeanor becomes burglary. You become very deeply involved in the possibility of prison time or large fines and that sort of thing which I think are impediments to your activity and they don’t really solve anything. They don’t save any more lives.
If you destroy a suction machine, it can be replaced almost immediately-in time to begin doing abortions on schedule. Even if you destroy an abortion clinic they would relocate or rebuild and the penalty you’re now paying is enormous.
Joan Andrew is now in prison for five years. We would love to have her out on
the circuit, talking training, inspiring people. Maybe she’s inspiring people in jail, but a lot of people simply won’t buy that method. Equipment is not the culprit. The suction machine as vicious as it is in abortion can also have a positive purpose in a D&C after a miscarriage. The instrument is not evil. It’s the misuse of the instrument. Like a gun- a gun in itself is not a bad thing. It may be used primarily for bad things, but it also can be used for protection of your family or to prevent a crime. So attacking material things is not getting to the root of the problem. I would rather convert the doctor.
Q: What impact does activism have on the individual and his spiritual life?
A: I believe you have to be close to God to put up with all the abuse you’re going to take. I find that most activists are highly spiritual people. They’re very good people. I find in my own life it has caused me to become much more dependent on prayer. Besides you need protection. When I was arrested in Denver I was facing a felony because they wanted to tie me in with Joan’s (Andrews) case. They wanted to extradite me. There were some 200 people outside praying. This went out over the radio and television and people were calling my wife saying that they were praying for me.
Q. Some pro-life strategists say its impossible to obtain a complete ban on abortion in the political arena and they say the best thing to do is to try to obtain restrictions because its more politically feasible. What would you say to that?
A: I can see going for restrictions because you’re trying to whittle away, but you never close the door until you get what you want. You can’t compromise with human life and you can’t make a deal that kills some. But at the same time you can try to save those you can with the intention of saving more simply through the political process. That may be the way we have to go. I have to admit that to a certain extent I am pragmatic on the abortion issue.
I supported the Human Life Bill which would allow for some abortions because you can always strengthen a bill. But I would not go for a human life amendment(such as the Hatch Amendment) that would be a permanent fixture and would allow for elective abortions. I don’t think you can do that consistently if you’re consistent with your beliefs that all human life is valuable.
When you’re in the political arena you really have to sometimes go step by step. It’s the way things get done.
Q: In your opinion, who is pro-life?
A: I’ve said many times that I have more respect for the abortionist who is at least getting paid, is blatant about it, and knows where he stands that a wishy washy moderate pro-life politician who’s just trying to get your vote and really doesn’t care about the issue. I would punish that person in that he’d never win an office or at least get pro-life backing again.
Q. Where do you envisage the pro-life struggle going in the next few years?
A. In the States, I think we’re going to have some reversals in the courts. I think the Supreme Court very possibly will be five to four against funding, possibly for parental notification, maybe even a judgement that would give decision back to the states. That’s probably the route it will go in the future if we can have the right people on the court.
I think the issue has stayed alive. It is an enormous moral issue. I think medically it’s going to be along time before doctors really start buckling down and realizing the seriousness of what we’re getting into not just with abortion but with the whole genetic thing of using fetal parts.
If you don’t have any concept of the value of the individual which many people don’t seem to have, then you become utilitarian. We’re going to have a very difficult time with the medical profession. They’re going to go ahead and do what they want. We’re coming up with abortifacient pills. RU 486 causes an abortion well into pregnancy, its not just a morning after pill.
I think as long as we have a secular, hedonistic society we’re going to have problems. I don’t see any great change coming unless there is some kind of a real disaster, a punishment-type thing. The AIDS epidemic could become of such epidemic proportions, the number of deaths alone might cause people to sober up. Possibly we’ll get something like nuclear war, a series of earthquakes, and a natural disaster.
Things are different when you’re facing a tragedy. You begin to realize that we’re only temporary. I don’t know if that’s God’s plan but one way or another things are going to change. I don’t believe God is mocked, we’re still his children. He’s straightened us out in the past-He has ways of doing that.
But we each have to look to is our soul and those of the people we love and if you’re the only person in the world Christ died for you and you have an eternal destiny and if you’re in the midst of a pagan society more grace to you for overcoming. So ultimately you have to be your own judge of your actions and keep them in conformity with God’s law, that’s all that remains, everything else is cinders.