In the aftermath of Dr. George Tiller’s murder many people
have asked whether anti-abortion rhetoric constitutes "hate speech" or
an "incitement to terrorism." This rhetoric includes language
describing abortion as a form of violence, as torture, an attack on
innocent life, executing a child, killing, baby-killing, murder, child
murder, mass murder, like slavery, a genocide, a holocaust, worse than
But whether or not it is hate speech, and whether or not
it can be linked directly to the murder of Dr. Tiller and other
abortion providers, it is language that reveals a frightening degree of
anger, disrespect for and hostility not only to the people who perform
abortions but also to those who have abortions — pregnant women.
As National Advocates for Pregnant Women’s video, Pregnant Women and Mother’s Deserve Better,
explains, when individuals and organizations use this language —
"violence," "torture," "an attack on innocent life," "executing a
child," "killing," "baby-killing," "murder," "child murder," "mass
murder," "like slavery," "genocide," "holocaust," "worse than any
holocaust" — they are not just describing a procedure or the small
number of doctors who provide women with abortion services. They are
also talking about the millions of pregnant women who have had and will
continue to have abortions, whether or not there are any doctors left
alive to provide them safely.
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Who are the millions of "murderous" women who have
abortions? Sixty-one percent of women having abortions are already
mothers. By the age of 45, 84% of all women in U.S. will have become
pregnant and given birth and 43% will have had an abortion.
In other words, the women who have abortions are overwhelmingly mothers.
we need to ask — do the people who use this language really think the
mothers who have had abortions are the same as, or worse than, those
who carry out torture, kill children, and commit mass-murder? This
question applies to TV personalities like Bill O’Reilly, to mainstream
organizations like the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and
target to peaceful picketers like those who protested
President Obama when he gave the commencement speech at Notre
NAPW believes that the pregnant women who have abortions,
who suffer miscarriages, who give birth, who raise children, and who
love their families deserve better.
time for all those who care about pregnant women and mothers —
whatever their views on abortion — to write, call, and, demonstrate
against individuals, organizations, and institutions that use this
language. It is time to explain why you think it is wrong to equate
pregnant women and mothers with Hitler. Here are some things you can
Regardless of your point of view about abortion, it is
time to ask your spiritual, religious, and political leaders to give a
sermon or speech explaining the difference between the personal
decisions women and their families make and government sponsored
genocide. While some women do feel that an abortion ends a life, or at
least a potential life, they know that their individual and very
private decisions and circumstances are not the same as decisions to
carry out state-sponsored genocide. Government protection of private
decision-making is not the same as government authorized military
action against particular groups of people. Implying that the decisions
individual women make to have abortions is the same or worse than a
holocaust denying and it should stop.
Regardless of your point of view about abortion, it is
time to ask your spiritual, religious, and political leaders to explain
the difference between pregnancy and slavery. People can oppose
abortion without equating pregnant women to slave holders and their
personal decisions with the institution of slavery. Claiming that the
individual decisions of pregnant women and their families is like or
worse than slavery denies the history, the meaning, and the lessons
that must be learned from America’s participation in the African Slave
Trade and its history of state-sponsored slavery.
Students, especially, can use the resources offered by Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom to
counter the elaborate and well-funded college campus programs arguing
that the collective actions of pregnant women and mother are worse than
Tell your story. The anti-abortion
movement has created the illusion that there are two kinds of women:
those who have abortions and those who have babies. The truth is that
the vast majority of women who have abortions are already or will
someday also be mothers. You can make it hard to label mothers
murderers, by showing that the women who are accused of creating a
"culture of death" are giving birth and doing the caretaking that is
at the core of a true culture of life. If you have had an abortion and
given birth experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth, adopted or raised
a child — tell your story with a picture, a sign, a 1 minute or less
video and we will post it at: advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/mystory.
At his Notre Dame commencement President Obama asked, "How
does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we
consider right, without demonizing those with just as strongly held
convictions on the other side?"
message: People can oppose abortion without equating pregnant women and
mothers, and the people who support them, with mass-murderers and baby