By Scott Tibbs, October 17, 2001
On October 15, dozens of abortion clinics, including several in Indiana, received envelopes containing a mysterious white powder, with many of the letters claiming to have exposed the recipients to anthrax. These letters are obviously meant to capitalize on the anthrax scare that started when media offices received letters containing the bacteria. After the atrocity of September 11, these letters, allegedly sent by the so-called "Army of God", appear to be an attempt to induce panic over the fear of a biological attack.
Attorney General John Ashcroft has said that people who perpetrate these types of anthrax hoaxes, whether intended as a "prank" or a serious attempt to terrorize people, will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. This is a good thing. At a time when the nation is at a heightened state of alert and is bracing for possible future terrorist attacks, these actions are dangerous. In the event of a real chemical or biological attack, these hoaxes could divert emergency management resources to a non-threat when they are needed elsewhere. As indefensible as "anthrax letter" hoaxes were when they were sent to Indiana abortion clinics in 1998, these tactics are even worse now.
Threatening to expose abortionists or abortion clinic workers to a potentially deadly biological agent is not a pro-life activity, and should not be considered as such. Acts of terrorism such as this do not advance the pro-life cause, nor do they educate anyone about the inhumanity of abortion. All of the major national pro-life organizations have denounced these types of terrorism, such as the murder of abortionist Barnett Slepian in 1998. True pro-lifers are opposed to the violence of abortion and violence against abortion providers.
Unfortunately, many pro-abortion activists have in the past accused the pro-life movement of encouraging these acts with our rhetoric about abortion. They say that when pro-lifers refer to abortion as murder we inflame emotions and cause people to take violent action to stop it. They are wrong, because it is the perpetrators of these actions, and the perpetrators only, who are responsible for this terrorism. The fact that a few deranged thugs have found a cause to channel their violent tendencies though does not and should not cast any blame on the supporters of that cause, the vast majority of whom are opposed to such violence.
Pro-abortion hatemongering like this is intended to squelch debate on abortion and intimidate pro-life advocates into shying away from the truth about abortion. Supporters of the unborn's right to life must not allow themselves to be intimidated. Abortion IS the violent termination of a human being. If this were not the case, pro-lifers would not be working to end this mass violation of human rights.
Instead of pointing fingers and casting blame for acts of political terrorism, on this or any other issue, both opponents and supporters of legalized abortion should join together to denounce these acts and work to end them. We can all agree that upholding the rule of law and working for change in a nonviolent way are appropriate methods of dealing with social issues. Hopefully, we can do that in the wake of these acts of terrorism.