Violence against anti-abortion activists appears to be on the rise.
A generation ago, the Left made important gains by showing “the violence of the Right” in a few much-reported cases. It was bombings and arson that made the news in the 1980s (against abortion clinics, mainly) and murders in the 1990s (with about a dozen dead).
The dissonance between of the “pro-life” activists being “for” life while killing people gave the abortion cause its best publicity ever.
Sure, one may justly defend oneself with violence. And one may defend others from violence with violence. But the use of force outside a context of immediate aggression requires a legal approach, not vigilantism.
Civilized people know this.
I suspect that the cause of abortion as a welfare-state policy ended up being helped, not hurt, by the terroristic acts of anti-abortion activists — because most people prefer civilization to terroristic violence.
After that sort of thing got nudged out of the headlines by 9/11 and the much more frequent radical Islamist violence, a general pro-life sentiment could re-awaken. And has.
Which causes some “pro-choicers” to panic.
In Toronto, Canada, two recent events indicate a heated-up street war on the subject.
On September 30, a male abortion defender kicked a pro-life woman, who caught her assailant in the act on camera.
The videographer/kick-victim is Marie-Claire Bissonette, a leader in Canada’s anti-abortion movement. She had been participating in Life Chain, which she described as “an annual event which consists of thousands of pro-life women, men and children standing on over 200 street corners across Canada.” She emphasized that theirs is “an explicitly peaceful and silent protest” wherein participants “are not allowed to begin conversations with passersby, nor are they allowed to display any aggressive behaviour at any point.”
The protest was at at the corner of Bloor and Keele, near an abortion clinic but not within 50 meters, the legally prescribed safe zone for abortion clinics. And one of the “pro-choice” activists began taking a marker and defacing the protesters’ signs. So Marie-Claire Bissonette confronted him, smartphone in Record mode. And we got the full blessing of hearing his pro-choice logic. In a smirky, flip voice, he challenged Ms. Bissonette with this: “If somebody gets raped by somebody, and they’re like ‘I’m a 16-year-old and I can’t have this baby!’ — think you should keep it?” He did not like her answer. So he cocked his body in a kicker position, stuck out his tongue in determination, and kicked her. The video shows the world gyrating as the phone flew through the air, and we hear the “gentleman” assure her that “I meant to kick your phone!” Apparently, the “roundhouse kick” made contact with her very body.
The man, the epitome of courage and reason, fled the scene. After a manhunt, he turned himself in and was placed under arrest. His name is Jordan Hunt. His age? Twenty-six.
On October 1, a female abortion activist became unhinged during a street confrontation with an anti-abortion protest. She began pushing her opponents, destroying their personal property, attacking them with metal objects (a moving dolly and a clamp). Reports describe this assailant as “a member of the Ryerson Reproductive Justice Collective and a former faculty of arts director at the Ryerson Students Union.”
Look on the bright side: these young adults do not seem murderous. They seem pathetic. But they are violent.
And the linkage between these moments of violence and similar violence on campuses in America — from Antifa, in particular — show an ominous growth in contempt for the rule of law.
In the abortion-issue cases, as in the shout-down protests on campuses, the violent young target those who hold differing opinions. They are not protecting life. They are protecting the license to kill fetuses (in the case of these Toronto street scuffles) or their hegemony over all major campus intellectual discussions (in the case of campus de-platformings).
I do not know whether this violence is increasing or merely being increasingly caught on camera. Whichever the case, my bet is that the cause with the more violent activists is going to be the cause that loses in public opinion. In a sane democracy, the side with the most violent nutcases loses.
All we are saying is, give civilization a chance.