A few days ago, Jewels Green, who is a former abortion center employee turned pro-lifer, contributed a blog post entitled “Pro-life and committed to ending abortion: but NOT by any means necessary.” In it, she expressed her opinion that the pro-life movement should refrain from any violence or unlawful activity, which she says “provides our pro-abortion opposition a speedy on-ramp to the high road and fosters a ‘comrades-in-arms’ mentality that unifies their ranks and galvanizes public opinion in their favor.”
Although no one disagreed with her point about violence, some objected to her statement that “Even humorously suggesting a return to the era of blockading entrances to clinics or ‘occupying’ the waiting rooms of abortion clinics leads down the slippery slope to further lawlessness” and violence. But this did not adequately address activity that is both peaceful and illegal— i.e. non-violent civil disobedience, in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. and other social justice leaders.
Civil disobedience may or may not be appropriate, depending on the time and circumstance. This is a matter on which reasonable people can disagree.
In the interest of fostering open discussion, here is a pro-civil-disobedience response, by Stand True president Bryan Kemper:
In a recent article written by Jewels Green, she asks the following question to open her article:
“Should breaking the law be advocated to advance the cause for life? Should violence be encouraged, condoned, or celebrated to further the cause for life? No, and no.”
What we see here are two totally separate questions that should not be asked together; this is done to try to tie the two things together, which is unfair. Of course we should not condone violence or celebrate it. The problem is that later in the article you see the author try to tie the civil disobedience in Question 1 with the violence in Question 2.
So lets talk about Question 1: “Should breaking the law be advocated to advance the cause for life?” I want to rephrase this question to go past abortion, as it does say “cause for life”. The question would then read, “Should breaking the law ever have been advocated to advance causes like the Underground Railroad, hiding Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, the sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement, rescuing young girls trapped in sex slavery, and rescuing children from abortion?”
When we rephrase the question and don’t try and tie the action of civil disobedience to violence, it shines a whole new light on the situation. The fact is that there are way too many times in the history of the world when corrupt governments passed evil, unjust laws that lead to the death, imprisonment and torture of our fellow human persons. There were also courageous men and women who peacefully broke those laws in order to save lives and change the world.