Abortion Rhetoric

Author Greg Koukl Published on 03/04/2013

Domestic terrorism. “A brutal, cowardly act of murder.” “Mass murder.” “A national conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism.” These are perfect descriptions of what abortion is.

It’s a heck of a way to end the year. Another killing at an abortion clinic Friday. Two more people killed, three others wounded, some in critical condition at an abortion clinic in Brookline, Massachusetts. John Salvi the alleged shooter.

I would love to do a light-hearted show on this the last day of 1994. I would love to do a reflection on all the great things that have happened—interesting calls that we’ve had, exciting events that have taken place. I really think it’s been kind of a slow year for bad news, by and large. It’s not like other years and that’s a good sign. To listen to the other radio stations as they are doing a montage of the year, and to hear about the earthquake and the O.J. Simpson trial—it could have been a lot worse. It’s been a lot worse in other years. But then the year ends on this particular note, especially with the impact that these killings are going to have for the pro-life movement. It’s just absolutely maddening.

I am so upset about a couple of aspects about this. I hate responding to these kinds of things. I have a tremendous internal conflict in dealing with things like the killings on Friday. This is the third occasion of killings since March of 1993 when David Gunn was gunned down in Pennsacola, Florida. We had two more killings since then, before this one on Friday. So there have been five killings in the last year and ten months. I hate talking about it. The obvious reason is that two more people are dead over this issue. I am pro-life on this issue. I want fewer people to die here, not more people to die.

But it creates a tremendous conflict inside of me because I want to speak in the strongest possible terms against such a thing and I do. I think this is tragic. I’ve argued coherently in the past that we ought not do this. When I say coherently it does appear that there is an inconsistency between saying that abortion is the taking of an innocent human’s life and that it is also wrong to take the life of those that are taking the lives of other innocent human beings. It seems like there is a contradiction there. I don’t think there is and I’ve gone to great pains to explain why. I’ve explained that all in the past, but it’s very hard for me to deal with these incidents because I want to say this is a terrible tragedy, this ought not be done, without at any point taking away from the moral weight of this tragic institution of abortion.

When this thing happens, when people are killed, when there is violence at abortion clinics, it takes all of the focus away from the fact that 1.5 million innocent human beings lose their lives every year, and it puts all the focus on the abortionists that are doing such a thing in a favorable way. So I am angry at this. It is maddening to me.

I’m angry at the killings because more people are dead, including in this case, a magna cum laude Boston College graduate, Shannon Lowney. But I’m also angry because more children are going to die as a result. I have mentioned before that if any tactic sets the cessation of abortion back even a single day, that 4,109 more children lose their lives at the rate of 1.5 million abortions a year. If we set this back because of our tactics, and because of our attitudes, and our lack of wisdom, and our impulsiveness, more children die, more people die. This last tragedy is a case in point.

Pro-abortionists all over the country are now having an absolute field day with emotional and misleading rhetoric. It’s especially misleading because it obfuscates the issue so that one can’t see what ought to be obvious to all. It clouds things so that the actual facts of the circumstance are distorted. It makes those who are arguing for the lives of unborn children look like Hitlers. Here’s what I mean.

President Clinton called this “domestic terrorism” in the L.A. Times. U.S. Attorney David Stern called it a “brutal, cowardly act of murder.” Eleanor Smeal called it “a mass murder.” Listen to this. The killing of two people at two clinics is called a mass murder—abortion clinics, of which one alone takes 3,000 babies lives a year! Kim Gandy, Vice President of N.O.W. sees Friday’s killings as proof of a “national conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism.” Proof? National conspiracy? What should be obvious is that all of these are phrases that accurately describe abortion, not those who oppose abortion.

“Domestic terrorism.” “A brutal, cowardly act of murder.” “Mass murder.” “A national conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism.” These are perfect descriptions of what abortion is. These were random lives, by the way, because John Salvi walked in and just started spraying bullets around, shooting everyone in his path. First, lovely Shannon Lowney who was a receptionist there took three bullets in the chest. This is the result then, this hue and cry for this tragic event. But then the guns of our society and culture are leveled not at the true perpetrators of the circumstances that allow this, but at those that are fighting for just the opposite.

What is the most bizarre claim of all? The most ridiculous and offensive charge is that pro-lifers are responsible. It puts pro-lifers in a very awkward position. They look like the bad guys. Pro-abortionists have an absolute field day with emotional and misleading rhetoric that confuses the issue so that people can’t see what is really obvious here: In the face of five deaths of abortion providers, you stand that next to over two million deaths of children in the same time. But the most bizarre claim is that pro-lifers, a group of people and organizations—which to a group and almost to a man have deplored and condemned violence of any kind here—pro-lifers are accused of being responsible for this.

Kate Michelman, the President of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, said in the L.A. Times, “There could be no doubt that the roots of this violence lie in the long-term anti-choice campaign that is based on intolerance and irresponsible emotional appeals to action. Opponents of choice must take responsibility for creating a climate in which this terror thrives.” Here’s another quote. It looks like it’s from Ann Lewis, Vice President for Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She holds that pro-life groups are responsible and has bitterly attacked them for creating a climate that spawns violence through their “continued use of inflammatory rhetoric, such as repeatedly referring to doctors as murderers and baby killers.”

This is not inflammatory rhetoric. Doctors are called baby killers for one simple reason. If they’re abortionists, they kill babies. What’s rhetorical about that? What’s misleading about that? What’s slippery? Is it dead? Yes. Is it a baby? No, it’s a fetus. Fetus is Latin for baby. No rhetoric here. None needed, frankly. All pro-lifers are doing is calling a spade a spade. If it’s inflammatory, it inflames for one reason: because of the egregious nature of the act itself.

It is almost as if Michelman is saying, See what you’ve done? You keep complaining that we are killing children. Somebody is going to try and stop us if you keep doing that. It’s all your fault.

Well, let’s get our facts straight. There is only one reason why such a thing can happen. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying it is good that it happened. I think it is terrible that it happened. But don’t anybody point the finger at pro-lifers for this. There is only one reason that this kind of thing can happen: innocent children are being destroyed every day. If people like Kate Michelman weren’t promoting and participating in the killing of children, there would be no protests of any kind against this.

Just to add a little more perspective. Since March 10, 1993, when David Gunn was killed there have been five deaths of abortion providers. I am flat out against that. I’ve explained why. I think it is a terrible thing. But let’s not lose perspective. In that same amount of time, abortionists have taken the lives of 2.8 million children. Do you know how many major American cities it takes to add up to 2.8 million? Now you figure out who is the domestic terrorist. You figure out who are the national conspirators. You figure out who are guilty of brutal, cowardly acts of murder. The ax is not going to fall on the pro-lifers because they are not responsible. They have campaigned for life. They have done so peaceably. And in 22 years of the anti-abortion movement there have been five tragic deaths of abortion providers or those connected with it. But in that time, there have been close to 30 million deaths of innocents that had nothing to say about this, no vote, no opportunity to defend themselves.

If five deaths are tragic, then thirty million deaths are several million times more tragic. If you want to call me anti-choice, well, by golly, go ahead and do it. I’ll wear that label because this is a choice nobody ought to participate in. Nobody. If you want to call me anti-choice and use that kind of rhetoric, fine. I’ll take it. I’ll wear the label. I am proud to stand against that kind of choice. Call me anti-choice.

My concern this time has to do with abortion rhetoric. These kinds of killings, in addition to setting the cause back in other ways and taking the lives of people that ought not be killed—especially Friday, people who were almost bystanders in the process—is that it gives opportunity for a bunch of ridiculous and abusive rhetoric to be used by those who are in favor of taking the life of an innocent human being, a human being that can’t defend itself, principally because they are in the way.

Sometimes the objection is raised that there is nothing against abortion in the Bible. My response is, not so! The Bible says thou shalt not kill. Now if the Bible says that we ought not kill—and of course, in the Hebrew it clearly means we should not murder or take the life of another innocent human being—it certainly leaves open the possibility, and certainly later in the Scripture it commands capital punishment for certain offenses. I don’t think the Scripture is pacifistic in that regard. But it clearly says that we ought not take the lives of innocent human beings, and an unborn child is an example of an innocent human being. Therefore taking its life in abortion is wrong even if the Scripture doesn’t use the word abortion.

I would argue, by the way, that the burden of proof is not on the pro-lifer. The burden of proof is on those who would take the life of an innocent human child.

I used a phrase a few moments ago. I talked about those who approve of taking innocent human life which can’t defend itself, simply because it is in the way. You ought to memorize that, frankly because that is a perfect description of what abortion is. Back in the last election, when Vice President Dan Quayle was debating Al Gore, Al Gore raised the issue of abortion and asked, “Why do you want to take away a woman’s right to choose?” In other words, he was attempting to frame the issue. I wish Vice President Quayle would have used this line: Why do you want to approve and pay for people who want to take the life of innocent human children simply because they are in the way?

Some people might object to that characterization, and if they do my response is, there is not a single word in that sentence that any pro-abortionist can take exception with. Are you saying that it is not the taking of a human life? It is human. Are you saying that it is not innocent? It is innocent. Are you saying it is not taking the life? It is taking the life. Can it defend itself? No, it can’t defend itself. Why are you taking it? It’s in the way. Everything about that statement is true.

What bothers me is that pro-abortionists have hardly lifted a single finger to prove otherwise. They put all of the pressure and all of the burden upon pro-lifers to prove their case, and all they’ve done is scream slogans. Why? For a very good reason. All of their arguments are bad ones. Their slogans don’t wash because they don’t deal with the real issue. The real issue is worth committing to memory. If the unborn child is not a human person, no defense for abortion is necessary. You can have an abortion for any reason. You can slice it, dice it, roast it on a spit, as far as I’m concerned, if it’s not a human person. Who cares? Eat your own appendices if you want to do that. It doesn’t matter. But if the unborn child is a human person, then no justification for abortion is adequate. And all of these other ridiculous slogans simply fall away.

Just to show you how ridiculous they are, let me just recite a few of them for you.

“This will force women back into the alleys with coat hangers.” If abortion is made illegal it doesn’t force women to do anything except allow their children to live. That’s all. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from if you are really interested in choice, some of which are actually financed liberally by the government. Furthermore, why is it someone else’s fault if you hurt yourself in the process of killing another innocent human being?

“Women have a right to privacy with their doctor.” No privacy argument is a legitimate cover for a conspiracy to do egregious harm to another innocent human being. What if the doctor and the parents decided that pederasty would increase the closeness of the family? Does a right to privacy protect them? What could be more private than family sex? Why get the government involved in this private decision between a woman and her doctor?

“But women have a freedom to choose.” False. No one has an open-ended freedom to choose anything they want. You only have the freedom to choose morally acceptable alternatives. Killing innocent human beings because they are inconvenient is not one of those morally acceptable alternatives.

“It’s my body and I can do anything I want with it.” False on two counts. Even if I agreed that we are only talking about one woman’s body, the law does not allow you to do whatever you want with your body. You can’t do anything you want with your body. Secondly, an unborn child can have a penis and women don’t have penises. That is proof that there is a separate individual human being involved. By the way, that is a nice way to get to the point quickly at a cocktail party.

This kind of personal property argument was used to declare black slave Dred Scott a non-human, so you are in good company if you are arguing that way (facetiously, good company being Judge Taney). The point is, we are not talking about the woman’s body. We are talking about another human being domiciled within the woman. Does the dentist become part of the woman’s body when he sticks his hand in her mouth to do her teeth? No, of course not. It just goes to show how ridiculous these kinds of slogans are.

“Nobody knows when life begins.” That is utter nonsense. We have known for ages that the independent life of an individual being begins at conception. Check any biology textbook.

“Unwanted children shouldn’t be allowed to come into the world.” That may be a good argument for birth control, but not for abortion because the child in this case is already in the world, resting in what used to be the safest place for it to be, its mother’s womb. Now nearly 50% of children discovered in this location meet a violent death by their mother’s own hand.

“But these children create a drain on the economy.” That’s a good one. So when human beings get expensive, we kill them? That’s civilized, right? Maybe you create a drain on society. Let’s start with you. There are a lot of others out there that are a burden too. Why don’t we get them all out of the way in one final solution? There were some other people in the past who kind of liked that idea. Burdensome individuals, people who were expensive, we just kind of deep six them. That solves the problem.

“You’re just insensitive to the feelings and circumstances of the mother.” Maybe. So what? What does that have to do with anything? What does the fact that I am an insensitive creep have to do with justifying the killing of an innocent human being?

You may be picking up on something here in all of my responses to this ridiculous, empty rhetoric. All of these responses presume that the unborn child is a human person. You’re absolutely right. Virtually all pro-abortion arguments presume the contrary. That’s why this is the only important question in this debate. This question, what is that unborn child? What is it anyway? Is it just a nothing? What is it? Is it a part person, part human? Is it a potential human? Is it sui generus, as some argue, that it is in a class all by itself? That’s the question that needs to be dealt with.

You know what? It’s a question you will never ever hear pro-abortionists address because they can’t defend their argument. This is the simplest thing to answer. That unborn child is a living, separate being and it’s only one kind of being. It is a human being because when it comes out it doesn’t have fur. It doesn’t pant or lap or bark. It doesn’t swim through the water. It doesn’t crawl into a chrysalis and fly away when it grows up. It is none of those other types of creatures. It is a human being.

And for those of you who want to hide behind the personhood argument, you say it’s a human but not a person, my question is simply this, what is the difference? That question has been raised so many times by people who are trying to get away from what is obvious. They get away with it because no one asks the simple question, what is the difference? That’s a fair question because these people are trying to disqualify the life of an unborn child because it may be human, but it is not a person, so you can kill it. Now if you can kill a human being that’s not a person, but you can’t kill a human being that is a person, you better darn well know for sure what the difference is. If you don’t know the difference, then quit sacrificing these kids, pretending like you do.

The fact of the matter is, this is just another rhetorical ploy to get away from the obvious fact that human beings are personal type beings. It is what they are, it isn’t a quality they develop. That’s what it means, by the way, when it is written in our Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal because there is nothing physically equal about any human being. The thing that is equal about all human beings is something that is non-physical, it is immaterial, their personhood. It is inherent to being a human being. You can’t be a human being without being a person. That’s why we say all human beings are created equal. That, by the way, is the foundation for all human rights in general, and equal rights in particular. We are all equal in that we are personal human beings because human beings are personal beings. If personhood is something you develop willy-nilly as time goes on, then those who develop those things identified as personal better than others, are more personal than those others and ought to have more rights because they are more of what makes them valuable. That sounds ludicrous because personhood isn’t one of those kinds of things. It is what you are from the beginning.

I think the pro-abortion side has forced the pro-life side to shoulder the burden of proof far too long. The irony is, the pro-life side has taken the burden and has proved the case and still no one listens. You know what this proves? It proves that abortionists can only sustain their argument with empty, inflammatory rhetoric, the very thing they vacuously accuse the pro-life movement of using.