This guest post is written by Kate Harveston, a writer and political activist from Pennsylvania. She blogs about culture and politics, and the various ways that those elements act upon each other. For more of her work, you can follow her on Twitter or subscribe to her blog, Only Slightly Biased.
Anti-abortion advocates are adamant that they’re pro-life. The irony of this is their lack of respect for other human beings who have opinions that differ from theirs. There is a long history of violence at abortion clinics by anti-abortion activists, and in the 90s, anti-abortion extremists decided murder was the only way to stop abortion. How does that correspond with a pro-life agenda?
The history of violence
The level of unrest with abortion protestors has ebbed and flowed over the years, but it’s always been a constant. Things were stirred up again after doctored Planned Parenthood videos depicting workers negotiating the sale of fetal body parts were released in 2015. The fact that the videos were discredited and Planned Parenthood cleared of any wrongdoing doesn’t seem to have made an impact.
John Ryan, a notorious anti-abortion activist, faced a terrorism charge in January after making a bomb threat against a clinic. This man has a vast history of being arrested due to his actions against abortion clinics. He has beliefs radical enough that the Catholic Church and other groups against abortion distanced themselves from him.
Doctors have been attacked in their own homes. There have been 11 murders and 26 attempted murders. Arsons and bombings have happened in addition to just bomb threats, and women have been blocked from entering clinics with chemicals as well as protestors blocking the entrance with their bodies.
This month, Ontario announced they were going to introduce the Safe Access to Abortion Services Act, after a woman was spit on outside a clinic in Ottawa. This would extend a safe zone around clinics so women and staff could avoid being harassed by protestors on their way into and out of them. It could also extend to hospitals that provide the services and the residences of staff.
How does this fit in with the pro-life message?
Anti-abortion activists always talk about how they’re pro life and this is why they’re against abortion. But what weight does being pro-life hold when they don’t respect people who are alive and right in front of them? It’s one thing for pro-life protests to be peaceful and respectful; it’s another when people are being spit on, violence is involved, or bomb threats are made.
They advocate for the rights of the unborn, but shouldn’t that mean they appreciate people that have been born? Shouldn’t they and their choices be respected, just as the anti-abortion activists want their views to be respected and heard?
This is supposed to be about appreciating life itself. Some don’t seem to actually follow through with that message. Extreme activists have decided that murder is the only way to prevent abortion. But one of the biggest points they constantly make is that abortion is murder. How is murdering an adult supposed to be different? Doesn’t that completely go against the agenda they’re trying to serve?
Women have the right to an abortion. Spitting, assaulting or harassing someone that goes to get one is disgusting human behaviour. Protesting shouldn’t equate harassing. There are plenty of ways to get a message across without getting in someone’s face and making things personal.
Additionally, the staff at these clinics are just trying to do their job, like any human being. Should they be attacked just because they’re going to work? Many of these clinics offer a host of other women’s health services that don’t include abortion. They’re trying to make the world a better place, which is why they became healthcare providers in the first place. They want to help people. Shouldn’t pro-life activists be completely on board with helping others?
These activists are violating other people’s rights. People shouldn’t have to fear getting attacked going into the clinic to go to work or to get help with their health. This isn’t pro-life. This is pro-agenda. And it could be a lot of other things. But it’s certainly not pro-life.