When Linking Abortion with Other Violence Comes Naturally to Pro-lifers

Posted on April 16, 2019 By

(compiled by Rachel MacNair)

Part 1: Connections

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One common criticism of the consistent life ethic is the idea that, when opposing abortion, adding other issues is intended to be a way of watering down abortion, and giving politicians (especially Catholic politicians) a pass by letting them proclaim themselves good on other issues even if they’re bad on abortion.

Consistent lifers have responded that declaring abortion to be an issue of violence to be treated like other issues of violence strengthens the case against abortion. Instead of giving a pass, we’re challenging the politicians: if you’re good on other issues, why aren’t you consistent by opposing abortion as well?

But there’s another important point: independent of considering the consistent life ethic, right-to-lifers themselves often find it natural to use other issues of violence to explain how very important it is to oppose abortion. Here we offer a few examples.

Carol Tobias

President, National Right to Life Committee

Societies that have come down on the side of life have generally thrived, their citizens enjoying a better chance of living good and fulfilling lives. Societies that have chosen to disregard the basic right to life have almost universally broken down into chaos and cynicism. Chaos like the kind we’ve seen in recent acts of senseless mass violence . . .

The fight for the right to life is so much bigger than the media will admit . . . it’s also about what kind of society we and our children will spend our lives in.Can we trust that our laws and customs and popular culture will nurture the value of each of the people we care about – young and old? Or are we just disposable “products,” liable to be killed or left to die because an abortionist, or a terrorist, or a bureaucrat trying to cut costs in a national health care program wants us dead?

E-mail message, April 16, 2013 – “Every Human Life is Precious”

We also understand that the fight for the Right to Life follows certain historical patterns of other great causes before us.

So we understand that when we pass a law to ban late abortions in one of the states, we are paralleling our historical cousins who passed laws to end slavery in their states. When we see abortion numbers fall sharply, we know we are saving lives just as other noble charitable projects worked to reduce life-stealing hunger and disease.

E-mail message, February 2, 2016

Mark Crutcher

Life Dynamics

In a roundtable conversation, Mark is discussing Republicans who think the abortion issue should be toned down.

These guys say we ought to separate the “moral” issues from the “economic” issues . . . [Prochoicers] don’t have the moral foundation to make these economic decisions . . . What these guys ought to be saying is, even if we don’t care about abortion . . . we ought to be willing to at least use that as a barometer for what kind of economic decisions they’ll make.  . .  The military. If you think that going to war doesn’t have moral components to it, you’re nuts. And if we say we don’t want to deal with these moral issues, we want to deal with the money and the military and the terrorism – if you don’t apply morals to those issues, you’ve lost your mind.

LifeTalk News, October 1, 2010 

Life Talk News: Troy Newman, Rev. Johnny Hunter, Fr. Frank Pavone, Jill Stanek, Mark Crutcher.

Mark has criticized the consistent life ethic, but Johnny and Frank are supporters.

Richard M. Doerflinger

Former Director, Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Where did we get this corrosive climate, in which people can ignore contrary arguments about any issue simply by asserting the worthlessness of any human being who gets in the way of their own goals and desires? Theories will differ. Personally I would offer this: We have had one of the world’s most extreme policies allowing the destruction of unexpected or inconvenient unborn children for over four decades now. . .  We are the only Western nation that still regularly uses the death penalty as a response to crime. In recent decades there have been powerful and well-funded campaigns, successful in five states and the District of Columbia, to have society declare that a good way to get rid of the problems of terminally ill patients is to assist them in getting rid of themselves . . . . Isn’t it likely that these developments have led some people to think they have a right to treat inconvenient other people as worthless compared to themselves?

A Distinctive Catholic Vision for Politics

Fr. Frank Pavone

National Director, Priests for Life

Peace is more than the absence of war. The foundation of peace is justice, that everyone’s rights are protected and everyone’s dignity is recognized. . . . To fight abortion, therefore, is one of the ways that we work for peace. Abortion completely oppresses and diminishes the rights of the child who is killed. Rather than fostering right relationships, it destroys them, starting with the most basic relationship between a mother and her own child.

William Brennan


From Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives

(The second edition has a different sub-title: The War of Words Against the Victims)

A remarkable strain of consistency permeates the language employed to highlight the human and spiritual nature of individuals and groups subjected to massive victimization. The contemporary opponents of abortion and euthanasia rely on the same range of positive expressions to defend the unwanted unborn and born of today that were used to defend Native Americans, African Americans, Soviet people, Jews, women, and other targets of past oppression.

From Dehumanizing the Vulnerable: When Word Games Take Lives

(The second edition has a different sub-title: The War of Words Against the Victims)


Part 2: Consistency, focuses on the other direction: how opposing other kinds of violence strengthens the case against abortion.

For a set of quotations from abortion doctors, nurses, and sympathizers that link abortion to war (as a way of justifying abortion), see Is Abortion Against Peace Principles?  

See our blog posts for more sets of quotations:

Women with Disabilities Speak

Historical Black Voices: Racism Kills




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