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抗中絶運動を研究する人として、今年のこの時期は常に特に重要です。昨日、最高裁判所がロー対ウェイドで判決を下してから48年目となった。毎年恒例のマーチ・フォーライフは来週末に行われるが、今年はワシントンD.C.ではなくオンラインで集まるだろう。

ロー対ウェイドの遺産と生殖権に関する継続的な議論だけでなく、最近の出来事における中絶防止運動の役割についても考えています。先週、1月6日の議事堂でのイベントへの抗中絶活動者の関与について詳しく記事を見始めました。一人は、反乱時の抗中絶活動家の存在を説明しました。もう一つは、暴動に参加したウェストバージニア州の議員が、中絶クリニックへの嫌がらせを始めたことに注目しました。さらに別のものが、運動の長い過激主義の歴史を説明しました。明らかに、中絶防止運動はキャピトル暴動の主な動機ではなく、多くのプロライフ家がそれを非難しました。それでも、それを関連させるのに十分な類似点とクロスオーバーがあります。抗中絶過激主義の歴史は私がよく知っているものです。大学院生として、最初の研究論文を書き、その後、運動の直接行動戦術のエスカレーションを調査しました。これは1980年代後半のオペレーションレスキューの大きなデモで絶頂に達しました。1990年代初頭。中絶防止運動には、厄介な前者たちがいる。1月6日に見た暴力を予知したレトリックと戦術と、未チェックの焼夷レトリックの落ち込みを予見したレトリックと戦術だ。暴力、脅迫、炎症性修辞という運動自身の歴史を考えると、議事堂でのイベントに熱心に参加した反中絶活動家が本当に驚くことではありません。1980年代、中絶防止運動は挫折した。彼らはプロライフチャンピオン、ロナルド・レーガンを選出するのに役立ちましたが、いくつかの立法による勝利にもかかわらず、中絶はまだ合法でした。ロー対ウェイドは、逆になっていないし、中絶を禁止する憲法改正を追加する法案の提案はすべて失敗しました。運動内の急増する偶発は、より決定的に中絶に反対する非暴力的な直接行動に転じ、おそらく変化の遅いペースで欲求不満を生じさせました。

中絶を取り巻くレトリックもラチェットアップしていた。フランシス・シェーファーの人類に何が起こったのか?は、中絶が社会に与える影響についての悲惨な画像と悲惨な警告を観客に提示し、緊急の行動の必要性を納得させていました。中絶防止活動家は、このレトリックについて倍増し、ホロコーストと中絶を頻繁に比較しました。中絶とホロコーストを比較しているなら、必要な戦術を使えば、中絶を止めるためのエスカレートされた行動を正当化するのは簡単です。この話の中で、右利き者は最も正義の義にかなった擁護者でした。このレトリックは、妊娠中絶された胎児であると主張された悲惨な画像と誤報の充分と相まって、このレトリックは、運動の多くの人にとって緊急性の感覚をエスカレートさせた。

この強化レトリックによって部分的に動機づけられ、診療所での直接行動はすぐに1980年代と1990年代に大きな暴力への道を与えました, さらには診療所の爆撃、医師やスタッフの暗殺に.爆破事件と殺人は大きなニュースだった。実際、彼らは放火、荒らし、嫌がらせ、ストーカーといったより小さな暴力行為の数年の集大成でした。ある夏,わたしはアーカイブで数週間を過ごし,計画された親学や全国の女性診療所の医師やスタッフの報告や直接証言を読んでいました。彼らの証言は、彼らが直面した毎日の危険性、彼らの診療所や自宅での嫌がらせ、放火やその他の破壊行為の行為、そしてトラウマがそれを恐れていることを話しました。ここでも、その動きと結びつきを持つ人々が6日に議事堂に出席し、彼らを正当化する方法を見つけたことは驚くべきことではありませんその日の行動。抗中絶運動とその支持者は、長い間、炎症性レトリックと誤報に頼ってきました。そして、暴力行為を正当化するためにそのレトリックを使う活動家も多すぎます。それは厄介な遺産です。それは直面して取り組む必要があるものです。運動のレトリックと戦術がラインを越え、暴力に貢献したかを真に調べるよりも、失明する傾向がありました。運動の多くの人にとって、端は常に手段を正当化する。

私は長い間、中絶に反対する人々がこの政治的立場を脱獄カードの一種として使用していると思っていました。ある人がこの1つの問題について「正しい」姿勢を持っている限り、他の何も本当に重要ではありません。運動の支持者は、彼らの動機の純粋さと原因の義を主張するが、彼らのレトリックが運動の多くの部分で暴力と過激主義の遺産につながる方法を見落とす。

Allison Vander Broek

Allison Vander Broek is a historian of American religion and politics. She recently graduated from Boston College with her doctorate in history. Her dissertation, Rallying the Right-to-Lifers: Grassroots Religion and Politics in the Building of a Broad-Based Right-to-Life Movement, 1960-1984, explored the origins of the right-to-life movement in the 1960s and its rise to national prominence.

14 Comments

  • RLG says:

    Wow, Allison. What an article and what an insight. This takes us right back to the Holy Wars of the past (recent and distant), often with Christians of different stripes facing off against each other but also including large populations of different religions fighting for dominance. Isn’t it good to be a Christian today? Maybe so, maybe not. Thanks Allison for shining a light into the dark corners of Christianity. “Onward, Christian soldiers!”

  • Gloria McCanna says:

    Thanks for this history lesson on the actions and beliefs surrounding the so called right to life movement. A good one to keep on file.

  • Nolan Palsma says:

    Alison
    The last paragraph sums it up for me. “I’ve long thought that people opposed to abortion have used this political position as a kind of get-out-of-jail-free card — nothing else really matters as long as a person has the “correct” stance on this one issue. The movement’s supporters argue for the purity of their motives and the righteousness of their cause, but overlook the ways their rhetoric can lead to violence and the legacy of extremism in many parts of the movement.”
    That one issue is an obsessive for some. It is mind boggling! I get the sense that some of those who are against abortion feel that it is only contraception. There is more to the story. Thanks for the article!

  • Tom says:

    Just one thing I would appreciate knowing from Allison: are you pro-life or pro-choice? You might say it doesn’t matter, but to my mind that fundamentally affects the lens through which I read this piece and others you’ve posted.

    Then, a couple of comments – I could go on a very long time, but won’t:
    + 65,000,000 human lives snuffed out seems like a apt comparison to the Holocaust. Based on the simply arithmetic, you might say it’s 10 times worse.
    + Abraham Lincoln and John Brown were both right about slavery even if John Brown’s approach to resolving the issue was both wrong (probably) and ineffective from a practical political perspective.
    + you paint with a very broad brush here; be careful. Unless you are ready to apply the same thinking to this summer’s racial justice uprisings and the associated rioting.

  • Pamela E. Adams says:

    Allison, I agree with you and I am a strong anti-abortionist person. I have one adopted child and half of my grandchildren are my grandchildren through adoption. One of my biological sons has adopted four children in addition to his five biological children. That makes eight of sixteen grandchildren. I agree that abortion is wrong but so are so many other things in this world. We are doing many sinful things but to just focus on one and to exclude other actions is WRONG from a Biblical view point. Let us fight against abortion but also fight against the other sins that are predominant in our culture.

  • Ronald Dykstra says:

    Allison,
    Your title speaks volumes. “The Legacy of Antiabortion Extremism”. Broad brush is an incredible understatement. How about checking the bio’s of those arrested for involvement with the pro-life movement before labeling the entire event as pro-life extremism? And amen to Tom’s comment on the comparison of the Holocaust with our horrific abortion numbers. My heart aches for the thousands of patriotic people mis-labeled and mid-judged by this article.

  • Mary Jo Liesch says:

    Thank you! I am so grateful to all the writers in this blog.

  • Ken says:

    Allison, your title is apt despite the naysayers. You were faithful in looking at the extremism of a position.
    Further, I find it sad that those who are outraged by the 3,000/day deaths by abortion too often cannot muster any outrage about the complete failure of our nation to deal with the coronavirus, which at the moment is taking 4,000 lives per day. Ditto the outrage regarding issues like gun control, capital punishment, war, and so on.
    And, finally, I’d be curious what the gender breakdown is regarding extremists opposing abortion. Are they predominately male, as were the capitol extremists?
    Oh, and if it matters, I’m pro-choice/pro-life. I strive to live my life in such a way that people will choose for life, in any and all circumstances.
    Thanks for your column.

  • Steven Skahn says:

    I share your revulsion at those who use the anti-abortion issue to justify violence. But I think that a weakness in your discussion is that it fails to identify the real problem. Having strong feelings about abortion is not the problem. Nor is thinking that the issue can be in some ways can be compared to the Holocaust. I think Francis Schaeffer did a wonderful thing in awaking the evangelical community to the importance of this issue. The problem is not that developing strong feelings about abortion is getting on some slippery slope that leads to violence. The problem is arises when we fail to–using a sermon title of Schaffer’s–do “The Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way.” Those who use justify violence in opposing abortion have stopped following Jesus.

  • Gary VanHouten says:

    Thank you, Allison.
    “The antiabortion movement and its supporters have long relied on inflammatory rhetoric and misinformation.”
    Boy, you got that right!

  • Dean Koopman says:

    This article firmly establishes the paradoxical minimization of humanity that has engulfed all sides of the abortion argument.
    One side (pro-abortion) invalidates the humanity of children up to and now beyond childbirth while the other (pro-life) rejects the humanity of those who would do and support such acts. All the while our government diminishes our liberties in the name of domestic tranquility while enraging all of us through a teeter-totter of conflicting Executive memorandums a the political parties rise and fall in approval.
    One final corollary to the paradox.
    How has no contributor to this blog not questioned the reduction of Francis Schaeffer’s scholarship and preaching to mere “rhetoric”?
    Apparently for humanity to be devalued, everything else must have been devalued first.

    • Tom says:

      Agree with you wholeheartedly Dean! I did not mention in my comment above because then the ‘comment’ becomes an entire essay, but three other things occurred to me while reading this.
      First, the rule that when the tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail – translated to this essay, I guess if you’ve invested much of your life into investigating the wrongdoings of the pro-life movement, then you see those wrongdoing expressing themselves everywhere no matter how far the stretch – this case is a major stretch; just guessing that the “articles that detailed antiabortion activists’ involvement” appeared in left-leaning, pro-abortion publications (unless someone can prove me wrong).
      Second, she acknowledges the frustration of the pro-life movement in accomplishing change in the 1980’s, but does not acknowledge that it was the Supreme Court that took the issue out of the political process in a poorly reasoned decision; thus the powerlessness that results in an extremist response.
      Third, abortion and the value of life IS the fundamental moral issue of our time, just as slavery was in the 1800’s. I have long felt that one of 30 to 40 years from now, we will find ourselves in one of two situations: either we will value human life and abortion will have been, perhaps not abolished, but much diminished; or, it will have become normal to kill off the old and sick, euphemistically telling ourselves that it is for their own good when the reality is there’s just too much trouble and cost in caring for them. We will not be somewhere between those extremes, and if you think this cannot happen, then pay some attention to what is already happening in Canada and in parts of the United States.

  • Ann Conklin says:

    Thank you for your research and insight, Allison.
    To those using the term “pro-abortion” in the comments, I would ask you to reconsider your word choice. Words matter. I am aware of no one who is pro-abortion. Many faithful people are, however, pro-choice AND anti-abortion. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  • Michael says:

    Can someone point me to thoughtful, fact-filled, resources on the faith community’s conversation on abortion? Because typically, either side is so bent on scoring points, there’s mainly a lot of heat and little light shone on this fraught subject. Do we agree on the statistics in these days of alternative facts? Are there places where one can find accurate abortion numbers; when in the pregnancy they are done (by percentages); do anti-abortion laws enacted help curtail abortions or do they simply drive them underground (and make more dangerous); where is the conversation on when “life” begins (from the moment of conception or ??? and who holds to these different views and why); do abortions go down more in Democrat or Republican administrations; and so on. Is there a relatively straight-forward, non-biased place a discerning Christian can get this kind of information? Please?

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