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Abortion rhetoric and civility in politics

By Scott Tibbs, January 21, 2011

In my letter to the editor a couple weeks ago, I described abortion as murder. Two days later, a psycho went on a shooting spree in Arizona. While his actions have been demonstrated to have nothing to do with politics, it nonetheless has sparked a debate over civil discourse and political rhetoric similar to what we saw after the murder of George Tiller in 2009. Many believe that using the word murder to describe abortion is incendiary.

So how should abortion opponents describe abortion and express our views on it?

For me, it is very simple. If I did not believe that abortion is murder I would not call it murder. I certainly would not make an ass of myself in public by rebuking the city council every summer for funding Planned Parenthood. (It looks like I will be rebuking the county council annually as well.) If I didn't believe abortion is murder, I would not waste my time writing letters to the editor or blog posts about abortion. I would not attend the Rally for Life every January or the Life Chain every October, and I would not picket at Planned Parenthood.

I say that abortion is murder because abortion is murder. It is an unmitigated evil that must be opposed through every nonviolent and lawful means available. As Proverbs 24:11-12 commands, "rescue those being led away to death."

I could use less aggressive language, but I do not believe that is effective or appropriate. It would be ineffective because we have a society that is swimming in the blood of 50 million murder victims and people need to be confronted with language that accurately describes what abortion is. It would not be appropriate because when you face slaughter of this magnitude, "civil" and "gentle" language does not do justice to what we are facing.

This is why I support the use of graphic bloody pictures of aborted babies. The biggest enemy abortion opponents face is not Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women or pro-abortion politicians. The biggest enemy we face is apathy from millions who know that abortion is wrong or ambivalence from those "on the fence" about the issue. The pictures shock people out of their apathy in a way that words cannot. Those pictures have actually brought people to saving faith in Jesus Christ by convicting them of their sin and need for a Redeemer.

Of course, murdering unborn children is as far from civility and gentleness as one can get. No words I can use will approach what Planned Parenthood does right here in Bloomington each Thursday, while hundreds of cars drive by oblivious to a mass murder that goes on behind those walls. Let's not fool ourselves here. Taking words like "murder" or graphic pictures of aborted babies out of the discussion of abortion is not so we can have a false sense of "civility" about it. The real purpose is to allow America to hide from our collective blood guilt over what we have done.