Responding to the Media created stereotypeOne's expectation of the typical media generated response to pro-life reaction to the untimely death of notorious abortionist George Tiller reflects an awareness of the decades long manipulation by the various players of the tragic national crisis called abortion. The dance follows these steps. Event involving injury or death or property damage to abortionist, abortion worker or abortion property takers place. Pro-lifers condemn the event. Pro-choicers blame pro-lifers for using inflammatory rhetoric to incite individual whacko or in polite terms morally confused person. Media joins the pro-choice chorus and runs multiple articles about the event permanently harming the pro-life movement. Certain pro-life groups will castigate the media for its continuing (read 36-year bias). The parties return to their corners for the bell, wait for the next round and the fight continues.
The cynics will point to those who exploit the "base" of either camp and then attempt to claim a certain objectivity even as they smear the pro-life side with their perceived impartial analysis.
I have seen this dance so many times over the last 34 years that I could call out the steps.
But I must credit Thomas Frank's column "Red State Story" in his Titling Yard column in Wall Street Journal for being as smooth a hatchet job as I have seen in years.
Seeing it in the WSJ is no surprise. The reporters on any abortion story have a built in bias against the pro-life side. A line by line analysis here is not warranted but suffice it to say that the lack of balance in reminding readers of the number of women who have died or been injured in Tiller's "clinic" is just one example of selective reporting. Another is the actual amount of money Tiller gave to political figures in Kansas to protect him from the long arm of the law. But I digress.
Thomas Frank begins his piece by attacking Phill Kline, the one time attorney general who sought to bring Tiller to court to account for the allegations of wrongdoing. Tiller's success in stopping Kline ironically kept him in business thus allowing him to be a continuing target for the morally confused and relativistic mentalities such as Scott Roeder. Frank does not know what Kline has been through in his efforts to follow the rule of law. He does not know about the personal lawsuits filed against him by the abortion industry and the economic impact of such litigation on a person and his family. Frank does not seem to care that the allegations of Tiller's influence all the way up to the Governor's office are supported by the hundreds of thousands of dollars in political campaign contributions. No, Phill Kline is a convenient punching bag for the media.
Frank then claims that those who use the tough rhetoric really do not believe it; otherwise they would support the violent actions of individuals such as Roeder. Thomas forgets one important ingredient found in the logic of consistency and in a philosophy that respects the rule of law. One does not take the law into one's own hands. One who believes in the sanctity of human life understands that there are "rules" by which a people live. These rules are what separate one from the terrorist or the vigilante or the IRA bomber in London.
Rational pro-lifers who adhere to moral principles invoke these time-honored rules of engagement. So it is not inconsistent to accurately describe the horror of killing children, still demand the law be followed and refuse to usurp the rule of law in bringing these matters to justice. Indeed the number of people actively involved in pro-life activities over the last 35 years is living proof to the non-violent nature of the movement. Compared with the violence during the labor and civil rights movements, there should be no complaints about the rare and random acts of violence that have occurred at the hands of morally confused or deranged people. Further it is interesting that most pro-life leaders will not bring up in their statements the violence directed toward pro-life activists, women seeking abortions, or others. The silent treatment in the media regarding women injured, sexually abused or killed by abortionists is a fact. But Mr. Frank conveniently ignores this little wrinkle.
Finally Frank wants his readers to believe that pro-lifers imagine "themselves as modern-day John Browns." Actually nothing could be further from the truth. Perhaps some consider themselves modern day Harriet Tubmans, others Frederick Douglas. But most see themselves as the little farmhouse that was part of the Underground Railroad. Pro-lifers just want to help where they can and when they can. They will volunteer at local pregnancy centers. They will pray in front of the mills. They will write their congressman and protest government actions, which promote abortion. But they do not take to violence and it is not because deep down they do not really believe in their rhetoric. It is because for the most part they believe in the rule of law and the need to adhere to a higher law which is the foundation of our laws. This is the law that the Supreme Court, the current Congress and the current president pretend does not exist. The natural law requires everyone respect the right to life of every person and the corollary, that only those with legitimate moral standing have the right to impose sanctions for violating the law.
Thomas Frank would benefit by talking to those of us who have been involved for years in making a positive difference while never compromising on the reality that abortion is a violent action that harms mother, father, baby and culture. For us on the front lines, the work to save lives, to end the killing, to correct the law will continue until we have prevailed to restore the right to life and the protection of law to all persons, born and unborn.