“Ask a Priest: What About Attacks on Abortionists?”

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Q: I saw a news story on TV that said that attacks against abortion providers have been on the rise lately. I read that some abortion doctors have even been killed since the Roe v. Wade decision. I am conflicted as to the morality of this, since undoubtedly countless kids have been born into the world and are alive today, who would not be alive had those doctors and clinics been left alone to operate. The actions of the attackers really saved innocent kids’ lives. How would this be viewed in light of Church teaching? Is there a point when killing is not only justified but required by moral law in order to protect the innocent? – M.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: The short answer is no, people aren’t justified in killing abortionists, no matter how loathsome abortion is.

For one thing, no one has the right to make himself a judge, jury and executioner. That is akin to doing the same thing that abortionists effectively do every time they kill an unborn child.

A basic moral principle is that we cannot choose an evil means to pursue a good end. Otherwise, anything could be justified.

Instead, pro-lifers should resort to prayer and sacrifices and evangelization to help change hearts and minds.

In any case, the killing of abortionists tends to turn public opinion against the pro-life movement. Such killings undercut the very credibility of the movement and everything it strives for.

There are, of course, times when forces is justified.

The Catechism in No. 2265, says: “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.”

Note that phrase: “those who legitimately hold authority.” This would include police officers and soldiers, but not those who decide on their own to use lethal force against perpetrators of injustice. That kind of thing could lead to chaos in a society and make the situation worse.

We do well to remember the words of St. Paul, “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (Romans 12:21).

This is not mere wishful thinking. The story behind the movie Unplanned is a reminder that even people in the abortion business can be converted. It’s not impossible.

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One Comment
  1. Evil wants this, it wants people to go against people and hurt or kill.
    Society has brought about the right to abort, it has passed laws allowing it (some places do not allow it) but as some countries have, groups etc have formed in other places who lobby and demonstrate for their laws to be changed so that they can have legal abortions. Evil is just horrible, it has sneaked its way into bringing the idea of abortion as something of the individual rights for women. Evil has tricked many women and men into thinking that abortion is a woman’s choice as it is her own body.

    It is also encouraging women and men to have sex outside marriage and sin.

    This is so wrong.

    Evil creates more evil, so in this case the evil of abortions has meant that others that think that they are doing good are hurting those that do the abortions, hence evil has tricked good people into doing evil acts. So the woman asking for an abortion has committed an evil act as she has been brain washed by current society, then the one carrying out the abortion is doing an evil act too, then evil being such the trickster as it is tricks those against abortion to carry on the evil by committing yet another evil act. That is the way evil works it is a force that wants to bring people down, any move it can make to take people away from Gods graces it will do it.

    Evil is sneaky and clever in the way it manipulates people.

    Also if a woman was sadly attacked that is an act of evil and if she becomes pregnant as a result but is so upset she aborts the baby then the evil continues as she has allowed an innocent baby to be killed.

    You see evil acts leads others who are usually nice and good to commit evil acts.
    Evil is using humans like puppets at the moment!

    Thou Shall Not Kill

    Now if that woman decided to have her baby even if she put it up for adoption then she has gone by Gods will and did not continue the evil that the attacker did.

    What people need to do is keep educating people on why abortion is wrong.
    That it is a little babies life . Nor should we call it “abortion” it should be called “killing an innocent little baby” : if that is what people called it instead then I am sure more people would not do it at all.

    A woman can opt to give the baby for adoption.

    The sex outside marriage is leading to lots of abortions a sin leads to an even greater sin.

    So those that hurt or kill someone who carries out abortions are only following the path of evil. instead they should be educating and showing that these are babies, and that they are God’s creation.

    I hope that all these people, the women and men who decide on the abortion, those that pass it as a law, those that carry out abortions and those that attack others for carrying out abortions must all repent.
    I really hope this world changes and that people will finally see clearly how evil works and how it tricks everyone.

    The battle we should all be taking on as Catholics should be to helps others see God’s truth, and bring those people closer to God. To shine a light onto the darkness and awaken people and society so that they can see what they are doing to each other.

    You question was very important and it was brave of you to ask this.

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