It's Not Easy Being a Pro-Lifer


April 06, 1993|By BETSY POWELL

San Jose, California. -- It's not easy being a pro-lifer these days. At best we are portrayed as rigid, moralistic bigots who live to impose our beliefs on others. At worst, we are fanatical killers of abortionists.

Can I have equal time?

When Michael Griffin pulled the trigger that killed Florida abortionist David Gunn, he set himself up as lawmaker, judge, jury and executioner rolled up in one.

Those who resort to this kind of indefensible violence must be subject to the laws of the land that we have put into place to keep our society from degenerating into chaos and vigilante justice. This is what separates civilized society from uncivilized.

But some, such as Kate Michelman of National Abortion Rights Action League and Patricia Ireland of the National Organization of Women, are fanning the flames of this incident for their own political gain, lumping together the whole pro-life movement and laying the blame for Mr. Griffin's actions at our doorstep.

The pro-life movement deplores Mr. Griffin's action that took another human life. He has no affiliation with the mainstream pro-life movement but is a lone wolf acting out his own personal version of reality. We are not responsible for Dr. Gunn's death any more than the Muslim community as a whole is responsible for the bombing at the New York Trade Center.

These accusations, based on prejudiced stereotypes, are unfair to the millions of pro-life Americans who oppose abortion for the very reason that it is an act of violence, and who therefore oppose any ''pro-life'' activity that is violent and destructive as completely counter to their aims.

These accusations are also irresponsible and dangerous in the current volatile climate surrounding the abortion issue because it labels all pro-lifers as ''dangerous wackos.''

Contrary to the rigid stereotype presented by our opponents, we support laws that the majority of Americans also support, like parental consent before a teen-ager gets an abortion, informed consent for women, and prohibiting abortion for reasons of birth control or sex selection.

Most Americans would support a law that would allow abortion only in the case of rape, incest, severe fetal deformity or severe physical threat to the mother's life or health.

Would we support such a law? Yes, and we have in several states.

Would this be a compromise? It would, because we think the only legitimate reason to deny someone's right to life is if another human life is threatened, in this case, the mother's. But because we are also committed to protect the civil right to life to the greatest extent possible, we would support such a law because it would save over 90 percent of the babies being aborted in our country.

Now ask your local abortion-rights group if it would be willing to bend and allow any regulation of abortion whatsoever. Be prepared for the rhetoric about choice and reproductive rights. You'll notice that it will settle for nothing less than abortion on demand, for any reason, as many times as a woman wants one, at virtually any stage of pregnancy, in every state in the nation.

Parental consent? Never! Informed consent for women? Ainfringement on reproductive rights! Abortion of viable babies? Let the abortionist decide.

Oh, and the taxpayers should foot the bill. This sums up the ''Freedom of Choice Act'' before Congress, and all the abortion-rights groups are demanding that it be passed. Talk about imposing a rigid stance on everyone.

Beware of trying to find middle ground with abortion-rights groups; it will melt away from under you like the proverbial snowball in hell. If you don't believe this, see what their response is to any attempt to make substantive amendments to the Freedom of Choice Act.

If you find yourself somewhere in the middle on the abortion issue, and you dig beneath the slogans and labels, you may be surprised to find yourself sharing some pretty solid middle ground with the pro-life position.

It's not easy being a pro-lifer these days, but would you like to work with us for peaceful solutions to social problems?

Instead of breaking the law, why not work through the law to restore legal protection for all innocent human life, offering life-affirming alternatives to help women and their children?

These solutions do not involve killing anyone -- including the most vulnerable among us.

Betsy Powell is president of the California Pro Life Council, the state affiliate of National Right to Life. She wrote this column for the San Francisco Examiner.

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