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The 2008 Rally for Life: Follow Up

By Scott Tibbs, January 30, 2008

The 2008 Rally for Life has generated some criticism, both from some passers by and online. I will address some of these criticisms in this post.

Some passers-by made remarks about stopping the war in Iraq as we were marching down Walnut to Third Street and back up College Avenue. The obvious implication is that those opposing abortion should also oppose the war. Being anti-abortion does not automatically obligate anyone to take a specific position on the war in Iraq, as reasonable people can come to different conclusions about whether the war was a good idea. Supporting a war that one believes was necessary for national security is not inherently inconsistent with opposing abortion. With 200 people at the Rally, it is unlikely that all of them support continuing the war or the decision to go to war in the first place.

Another criticism is that the Rally for Life is not a rally for "life" at all, because it does not address other "life" issues such as capital punishment or the deaths of civilians in Iraq. This is clearly a Red Herring logical fallacy, an attempt to move the discussion away from an issue that the pro-abortion crowd does not want to discuss. Yes, the January 20 event was a rally for life, because there is no larger life issue than abortion. Over 1,200,000 unborn children are slaughtered every year in America's abortion clinics, with a total death toll of over 45,000,000 human beings killed since the Supreme Court threw out state bans on abortion in 1973.

There was never any attempt to present this rally as anything other than an anti-abortion rally - a rally against the willful, intentional killing of a human being in the womb. The Rally for Life has been an annual event in Monroe County for over two decades now, and the purpose is well known. The National March for Life every January and smaller marches and rallies "for life" across the nation are universally understood to be rallies against abortion. Furthermore, in the context of our political system, it is understood that pro-life is the same as anti-abortion. But some fools will always chase after insignificant and irrelevant details so they can avoid the larger issue of over a million human beings killed every year.

Some abortion rights advocates attempt to use the "cute" argument that God is an abortionist, pointing to miscarriages. While no one denies the very real pain families who have experienced a miscarriage suffer, a miscarriage is by no means on the same moral plane as a surgical abortion. Death by natural causes is not murder, whether the natural cause is cancer, heart disease, smallpox, polio or old age. By the foolish "logic" that God is an abortionist, every living thing in history has been or will be "murdered" by God. Every single thing that has ever graced this planet (whether it be a human being, animal, plant, bacteria, fungus or anything else) either has died, is dying or will die. That does not mean that human beings have the "right" to murder other human beings. Very few abortion rights supporters trot out this silly "argument", leaving it to be used by fools who do not realize they are humiliating themselves.

An absolutely sickening and despicable attack on the 2008 Rally for Life was posted on a local message board by David Coonce. I have quoted his posts below.

Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:03 am

I was pretty bummed that afternoon of January 20th. Not because of this rally - I mean, political speech should be allowed always - but I, along with about 600 other people, were gathering at the Buskirk-Chumley to mourn the death of our friend. It was a beautiful, inspirational, tearful and wonderful memorial service. It just felt so wrong to have to walk past these horrible pictures of "aborted fetuses" and kids holding up "adoption" placards while we were all mourning. It was, frankly, disgusting and certainly not remotely hospitable -or respectful - to the feelings of a community and family mourning the senseless death of a loved one, a man who died in a fire at age 31 and left behind a wife and 2 young children.

I would suggest, respectfully, that the Right-to-Lifers have some respect for funerals. This bordered on Fred Phelps territory. I understand that they had this date picked out long before the funeral - but out of deference to the family and community (over 600 mourners!), they should have moved their protest or rescheduled it. Just my two cents.
Another poster ponted out the facts, that "no pictures of aborted fetuses were present." Coonce stuck to his guns:
Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:18 pm

No offense, sir, but you're wrong. I personally witnessed an "aborted fetus" poster at that demo. Somebody standing just to the left of Mr. Tibbs, standing upon the planter at the corner of Kirkwood and Walnut, was holding it. My wife noticed it first as we were driving by, looking for parking. Others at the funeral service commented to about the protest. I don't believe that the anti-choicers should have checked with the schedule, but once it was obvious that this was a massive funeral service (over 600 attendees), perhaps they could have moved their protest. But, perhaps we could have re-scheduled our memorial service? i don't know what the correct answer is. I just know that many people found it distasteful
When someone pointed out that "a picture of a fetus is not the same as a picture of an aborted fetus", Coonce responded:
Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:37 pm

well, that's just semantics. That's not an argument I have any patience or time for. Same difference. Amend my post to read "fetus." Jiminy Christmas!

There were absolutely no pictures of aborted babies at the 2008 Rally for Life, and the difference between a photograph of a healthy fetis in utero and an aborted fetus is anything but semantics. In fact, one of the "rules" was that the harsh pictures would not be used, as many young children attend annually. The picture that Coonce refers to was actually a picture of a healthy fetus in utero. The two women in the pictures below were standing on either side of me before I crossed the street to snap the two photographs below. As I do not have permission from the two women to use their images, I have cropped the pictures to remove their faces.

I've been involved in politics for over twelve years now, and while I do not approve of lying I am not surprised when someone lies in order to advance an agenda. I have seen this from liberals and conservatives, and from Republicans and Democrats. What amazes me is when someone like Coonce lies in such a brazen, blatant, bold faced way, especially when those lies are so easily discredited with simple facts. I was literally stunned when I saw Coonce lie so brazenly about the signs used at the 2008 RFL.

The 2008 Rally for Life had been scheduled weeks in advance, and the folks who organized the event had absolutely no way of knowing there would be a memorial service at the Buskirk-Chumley theatre on the day of the rally, which is as close to January 22 as possible every year. (The past six years, the RFL has been held on January 21, January 22, January 23, January 18, January 19 and January 20.) The memorial service was announced in the Herald-Times just three days before the 2008 RFL. There was clearly no intent to disturb or offend anyone who attended the memorial service. To attack the organizers of the 2008 RFL as not being "hospitable" or "respectful" is nothing but a cheap shot. Screeching that the 2008 RFL should have been moved at the last minute is the height of arrogance.

Where Coonce really dives into gutter politics is saying that the coincidental overlapping of the 2008 RFL and the memorial service "bordered on Fred Phelps territory." Phelps, of course, leads the Westboro Baptist "Church", which is infamous for protesting the funerals of homosexuals and members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Does Coonce really believe that the 2008 RFL and the depraved attention whores in the WBC are on the same planet, much less the same ballpark? This is not at all surprising, though. Common decency is not an obstacle to someone who thinks he can exploit the grief of a dead person's family and friends to score some cheap political points. This was just plain sick, and David Coonce should be ashamed of himself.