MEDIA SLANDER PRO-LIFERS AS VIOLENT

Pro-life groups in Canada and the US condemned the October 24 shooting death of Buffalo abortionist Barnett Slepian, but the mainstream news media, for the most part, failed to notice. Campaign Life Coalition, Canada`s national pro-life movement, American Life League, National Coalition for Life and Peace, and hosts of other North American pro-life groups spoke out unequivocally against the shooting. Jim Hughes, president of Campaign Life Coalition, condemned the shooting by saying that such violence against a fellow human being can never be justified, and showed this tragedy to be but another example of the disrespect for human life that has permeated our society.

Unfortunately, the media have given scant coverage of the pro-life response to the killing, choosing instead to become an outlet for the anger from the pro-abortion camp. They also appeared to relish their coverage of extremist groups with the subtle and not-so-subtle attempts to associate them with the mainstream pro-life movement. One internet group they singled out as a pro-life source was the "Creator`s Party" which favours the killing of abortionists. USA Today had a dreadful political cartoon showing a person on one knee pointing a rifle and with "pro-life" prominently displayed on his shirt.

Pushing slander to its legal limits, the president of the N.Y. Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion, blamed John Cardinal O`Connor for the killing of Dr. Slepian; she also accused Focus on the Family`s James Dobson for the doctor`s death. "Without these leaders spewing hate, there would be no anti-abortion movements," she said. This pro-choice spokeswoman then got even more specific, adding that although the New York Archbishop did not pull the trigger, "Cardinal O`Connor is accountable for these religious followers who do pull the trigger."

Rev. Martin Luther King was a proponent of civil rights for African Americans and an advocate of non-violence. Cardinal O`Connor has championed the civil rights of the unborn and has always counselled against violence. Some in the civil rights movement resorted to violence, as some in the pro-life movement have, but just as no one in his right mind would blame Dr. King for the crazies supporting his cause, no one in his right mind would blame Cardinal O`Connor for the nuts supporting his.

The overt anti pro-life bias was especially reflected by the Associated Press - the news source on which most North American dailies rely (i.e., tens of millions of readers) - which included no credible pro-life sources in their stories between the time of the Friday killing and Monday morning.

In Ottawa, popular talk show host Lowell Green gave Campaign Life Coalition's national director Karen Murawsky the opportunity to air the organization's condemnation of the killing, but charged that the pro-life movement's condemnations come across as only half- hearted. He also picked up on the popular refrain that pro-life "rhetoric" encourages violence. He objected to her use of the term "abortuary" as inflammatory. Mr. Green could well have been reminded that the Nazis also objected to the term "death camp." However, just because they called them relocation centres did not change what they really were. We can call the places where abortions are committed clinics, but that can`t change what they really are.

Why is it that every time something bad happens to an abortionist or an abortion mill, the entire pro-life movement gets blamed for it - before the real culprit has even been identified. It is worth keeping in mind that the North American toll in three years is five dead abortionists and six injured during a period of time when the U.S. experienced between 45,OOO to 50,000 murders. In Canada, outside of a minor conviction, there has yet to be a conviction against a pro-lifer on an abortion-related charge of violence. To use violence would be to concede that the pro-choice movement is right - that individuals can trample the right of others (the preborn) to get what they want. If we believed that, we`d be working for the local abortion mill.

Most leaders in the abortion movement have shamelessly exploited the appalling murder of Dr. Slepian to feed the public the harmful notion that any dissent (in particular, any dissent based on politically incorrect morality) is the root cause of violent crimes of hate and must therefore be silenced. And the media have largely bought it -- hook, line and sinker. We have seen it in the case of Matthew Shepherd, the young man from Wyoming, who was brutally killed allegedly because he was gay. Papers were immediately filled with columns speculating that the root of such hatred in our society can only be removed by quelling any vocal opposition to the gay lifestyle, or to gays having all the rights and privileges of family, or by silencing anyone who dares to whisper that homosexuality is a choice.

That same inane logic exists in British Columbia where any dissent to abortion and the New Democratic Party's socialist abortion policies has been routinely squelched. As elsewhere, the media and the NDP government have both revealed an obvious tendency to take the actions of a few radical extremists and use them as the basis to paint a broad stroke over all who hold pro-life views. They have fed and brought to life the broad assumption that everyone who supports pro-life is dangerous and must be silenced. Individuals in that province who hold pro-life opinions can't sit anymore on the government's regional health boards that control local hospitals. A Bubble Zone law has also been put into place to shield abortion 'clinics' and hospitals from witnessing pro-lifers. Vigourous limits have been placed on the rights of pro-life protesters to even silently express their views. One B.C. judge has gone so far as to refuse to allow any peaceful, non-obstructive disapproval of abortion, effectively making silent prayer a type of intimidation.

In this country of ours, we now have provincial abortion laws which deny effective free speech by prohibiting someone from praying, carrying a placard, or even a picture of the Virgin Mary on a public sidewalk. The implications of such ideas are far-reaching for a democratic society. The times are dangerous indeed when freedom of expression is dependent on the political and moral view being expressed. John F. Kennedy once said that "if you make peaceful protest impossible, you make violent protest inevitable."


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