Pro-life arguments against killing abortionists

The murder of Dr. George Tiller was an evil act that saved no lives. Here are ten reasons to oppose the supposed “justifiable homicide” of abortionists, as explained by pro-life Christian David P. Gushee in 1995:

  1. The use of intentional premeditated lethal force by private citizens to defend the innocent from harm is morally unjustifiable.
  2. However one describes the innocent, it is clearly unjustifiable to use lethal force in their defense when such defense could have been achieved through nonlethal means–means which are unambiguously available today through the moral, legal and nonviolent forms of pro-life activities. The absence of nonlethal means, moreover, does not in itself provide sufficient warrant for using lethal force to protect the innocent.
  3. The killing of abortion doctors does not constitute a meaningful defense of unborn life, because the woman seeking the abortion drives the process, not the doctor. Thus if we really seek to prevent abortion, we will lovingly provide the pregnant woman with appropriate support and viable alternatives to abortion.
  4. The use of lethal force is not justifiable as a form of privately initiated capital punishment, as some have claimed.
  5. The killing of abortion doctors is not morally legitimate as an act of civil disobedience.
  6. The use of lethal force cannot be viewed as an act of resistance to a government which has lost its legitimacy by permitting abortion. The U.S. government retains its legitimacy, and Christians should continue to seek redress through the political system.
  7. The transition from nonviolent to violent forms of action for social/legal change is a perilous and almost always morally unjustifiable step, particularly in a functioning democracy.
  8. The resort to violence as a means leads to a morally disastrous shift of ends, the focus of the activist becoming the destruction of wrongdoers rather than the prevention of wrongs.
  9. A social movement’s resort to violence tends to escalate rapidly. The strict limits imposed by just war type thinking are supplanted by crusade-like approaches leading to ever more indiscriminate violence.
  10. The resort to violence is indisputably hurting the cause of the pro-life movement.

Read the whole article for a more in-depth treatment.

2 comments

  1. Jill Zimon

    Alo – I appreciate this and am happy to re-tweet a link to it and support it. I find it far preferable to the statement in your prior post which, in my opinion, isn’t nearly as strong, far too circuitous and does not send a clear enough message that if people want what Dr. Tiller did to be unlawful, and/or what the alleged suspect did to be lawful, then they – like all of us – should use the same non-violent methods 99% of the rest of use to influence the law.

  2. Alo Konsen

    George Tiller was an inherently valuable human being, a person made in the image of God. As such he had a right to life equal to that of any unborn child. Murder is always wrong. Period.
    I condemn Tiller’s repeated choice to kill unborn human beings, but I trust that somehow, someday God will set all things right. It’s also plain to anyone with an ounce of sense that Tiller’s murderer had no authority (legal, moral, philosophical, or spiritual) to appropriate for himself the roles of judge, jury, and executioner. He deserves condemnation too.
    I hope for George Tiller’s sake that God will have mercy on his soul. I hope that the Kansas authorities swiftly, thoroughly, and justly prosecute and punish his murderer to the fullest extent possible. I hope that Tiller’s family and friends find comfort and solace in their time of grief. I hope that Tiller’s death won’t become a political football … but I know it will.