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Jewish World Review / Oct. 30, 1998 /10 Mar-Cheshvan, 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas Mother Teresa was right about killing

MOTHER TERESA USED TO WARN anyone who would listen that the abortion culture cheapens human life and finds expression in violent streets, terrorism of all sorts and a debasing of the uniqueness of human beings.

She might have argued, were she still with us, that the murder of Dr. Barnett Slepian, who performed abortions in Amherst, N.Y., proves her point. While his killing by a sniper is indefensible and the antithesis of what it means to be pro-life, it also demonstrates where our 25-year inattention to protecting the endowed and unalienable right to life has brought us.
Slepian, abortion martyr

In the same New York Times (Oct. 26) that featured a front-page story on how much infertile couples will pay to adopt babies (the average is between $15,000 and $20,000) and the extremes to which some will go in that pursuit because unrestricted abortion has diminished the number of available infants, a Times editorial called the shooting of Dr. Slepian "depraved.''

It euphemistically described abortion as a "constitutionally protected service'' and referred to pro-lifers as "anti-choice fanatics.'' When some people use incendiary words in reference to abortion, The Times says such language can lead to violent acts. (That is the position taken by the newspaper concerning anti-homosexual rhetoric.) Yet the paper sees nothing wrong with hauling out the verbal artillery when it addresses behavior it finds repugnant.

Three abortionists have been murdered in the past five years, as have three clinic employees and a clinic "escort.'' But in the same period, more than 6 million babies have been denied their right to live. In the 25 years since the Roe vs. Wade ruling a staggering 30 million babies have died. No Times editorialist weeps for them or for what they might have become.

Abortion is an industry that makes millions of dollars by exploiting women. As abortion is tolerated, pressure builds to remove protections on human life at other stages. That abortion is still conducted in secret, shielding us from confronting this immoral act, does not diminish its significance. The industry is able to keep us from having a full-scale debate because it has elevated ``choice'' to a sacrament, even while denying women access to the latest technology and information (like adoption) that frequently results in many choosing life for their unborn.

The New York Times would have us believe that "extreme'' pro-lifers are to blame for the shooting of Dr. Slepian. In fact, it has been The Times and other defenders of any and all abortions that have contributed to the cheapening of life and the belief by some fanatics that they can play God, dispensing vigilante vengeance and "justice.''

Advocates of choice speak of the "legality'' of abortion as if this is supposed to end all discussion, debate or even nonviolent civil disobedience (called "harassment'' by those who defended similar tactics to advance their past and present agendas). But law detached from a moral code is an insufficient standard by which to order a society. Were it sufficient, then certain practices in our past (such as slavery, which is again receiving attention in the movie "Beloved'') could be defended on the basis of their one-time legality.

Some pro-life pregnancy centers are adopting a positive new strategy to save the lives of babies and the souls of women even in the midst of an abortion-minded culture. Many of these centers are being transformed into medical clinics where sonograms allow pregnant women to see inside their bodies and gaze at another body. (I have met women for whom this was the defining moment in their choice.) They also learn about other options, including adoption, and the many forms of emotional and material support available which the "salespeople'' at abortion clinics never reveal because it might hurt business.

While the murder of Dr. Slepian must be deplored, his family gets sympathy because they can be seen. But the unborn are part of the same human family and deserve better than being reclassified into something they are not so that "abortion snipers'' can pick them off one at a time, while exercising their supposed "constitutional right.''


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©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Inc.