Even before the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado a few weeks ago, comments have been made about whether the pro-life movement's words and actions are equivalent to those of verified domestic terrorist organizations. These are allegations that can be heard from the mouths of abortion supporters at local levels, carried up to national levels.
Let's be clear: the FBI defines an act as domestic terrorism if it fits the following criteria:
- Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
- Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
- Occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S.
Now we need to ask ourselves, what is our movement doing wrong? No one will deny that there are tensions between the pro-life and pro-choice sides, but it takes a lot of hate to refer to people as terrorists. Relatively few on the pro-choice side hate that greatly, therefore there is only one conclusion that can maybe help the situation: what do we as pro-lifers need to do to make it harder for others to paint our movement in a bad light, but most importantly, what can we do that clears our name, AND get the job done? What can we do to make this movement as perfect as it can be?
It is a common practice for someone to blame another, while in a tough situation, in order to take a negative light off themselves. Instead of mourning the actions of the alleged Planned Parenthood shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, and the lives that were lost that day, Planned Parenthood, along with other pro-choice groups and representatives, were all quick to blame the rhetoric used by the pro-life movement, despite not knowing the true motives of Robert Dear, in order to take the spotlight off their organization's controversial actions. They used this sad, regrettable act for political gain.
Ironically, the very rhetoric used by the pro-life movement blames Planned Parenthood for the mistreatment of women and children, as well as the sale of body parts, and in response to an earlier claim by Planned Parenthood that pro-life groups don't support women well enough and only care about the unborn child. Follow the trail of blames to the beginning, and this is what is to be found: a person or group of people who look at people on the other side of an issue and tells them what they need to change, without bothering to look at their own faults.
For example, Planned Parenthood blames the Center For Medical Progress for releasing the sting videos that make them look bad, without acknowledging the fact that their employees said the things in the videos——if they don't want to look bad, don't say things that make you look bad! On the other hand, the pro-life movement blames Planned Parenthood for industrializing "healthcare," but some don't do enough to support pro-life clinics that could draw patients away from Planned Parenthood, or other pro-choice facilities.
Why is this relevant? Because this exposes some flaws in the pro-life movement. We have failed to realize that just making pro-choicers look bad doesn't make us look any better. Their rhetoric is a clue to what we need to change, and before we turn to exposing their own flaws, we need to take a look and make a change in our actions to fix our own flaws. We cannot just say that our ideas are better. Morally speaking, some pro-choicers understand that abortion is wrong, but they do not see a better option for women because we do not offer the perceived support of groups like Planned Parenthood.
That fact ties into one of our biggest flaws, one that is often called out by those of the pro-choice side: the pro-life movement cares more about the unborn than ANYONE else. There is some truth behind that statement. We as a movement need to take a multifaceted approach that supports women so well that abortion never even crosses a woman's mind and becomes obsolete. Women often use abortion to protect their security and their relationships. We need to provide the resources they need to protect their livelihood and their unborn child. Let's also put emphasis on supporting women and their children after child birth, because problems don't magically go away after the child is born.
We also need to get rid of the stigma that a pregnancy is a bad thing. Many members of the pro-life movement are Christian or generally religious, and their pro-life beliefs are closely tied to their religious beliefs. We must be careful to not judge women for their sexual encounters. Fear of judgement is a factor that can lead women to get an abortion, and judgement can even tie into emotional problems for post-abortive mothers. If you judge someone because they make different mistakes, you could very easily be feeding the problem. We have to help women find the best possible outcome given their situation; there is no use in overemphasizing the past.
In the end, it is clear that the the pro-life movement has improvements to make. We are on the right track though: we know the truth, and we have science on our side. If we make these changes, more people will not only hear our message, but actually listen. Mistakes are mistakes, flaws are flaws, but does that make us terrorists? Absolutely not.