Abortion shootings

Simple question: why is it wrong to shoot a doctor about to perform an abortion when it would not be wrong to shoot a contract killer hired by a child’s mother to kill a child? Why is it wrong to bomb and abortion clinic when it is not wrong to bomb Auschwitz (assuming both are empty when you bomb them)?

You will receive many answers to this I’m sure discussing various moral aspects of the issue but to me the bottom line is this…Such actions will hurt rather than help the “Pro-life” cause.
It’s really as simple as that…


Besides the very good answer in post #2, such an act would be a form of vigilantism and that will lead to all sorts of social problems at the very least. Also, you would not be actually accomplishing much because other doctors would step in to pick up the slack. Also, we live in a society governed in law by a lawful authority which prohibits such acts, we are bound in conscience to obey the lawful authority so long as it does not require us to perform immoral acts. So, if you are having such thoughts, dismiss them. God will set things right in his own good time. But of course you can and should, in so far as you are able, to engage in any positive efforts to stop the practice and to help pro-life efforts in any way you can.


As the previous poster mentioned, shooting an abortion doctor does not help the cause. There are many other abortion doctors. Also, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Now you bring up Auschwitz. While it certainly is as much of an evil as abortion is, there is a difference. First of all when they bombed auschwitz, they thought they were production centers, not a concentration camp. Also, the difference is that a government declared a war.The U.S was at war with Germany and therefore had a right to destroy their property as long as it didn’t target civillians.

I like to think of it this way. Lets say some random person tried to kill Hitler. What good would it do if someone tried to do this. Yes he was evil and maybe deserved death, but the better response would be to pray that he either changed his ways or was brought to justice. Same with abortion doctors. I’d rather see a doctor convert than be shot. Besides, i feel in most situations, God should be the one who allows life to end, not us taking a life.

While this may stir up controversy, the OP does have a legitimate question. It would probably be moral to use lethal means if necessary to stop the abortionist the instant before he begins the procedure. That’s certainly in line with Catholic teaching about defending the innocent.

The tricky part is this: What if the abortionist is walking down the hall toward the abortion room? Is lethal force permitted at that time? Now let’s keep going back in time…
Is it permissible to use lethal force as he enters the building that morning? What about when he’s sitting at home eating breakfast before going to the abortion mill?

It’s hard because we teach that self-defense (or defense of the innocent) can sometimes use force, but how far removed from the immediate act must the perp be before we say that it’s no longer legitimate defense?

It is not moral to use violence, culminating in homicide, to stop the lawful activity of those who actions are sanctioned by a legitimately elected democratic government.

The only avenue is prayer and legitimate forms of protest.

First, moral law doesn’t oblige us to go out of our way to stop every evil everywhere no matter what. So, if I’m walking down the street and see a woman being mugged, I’d probably be obliged to help her; but it doesn’t follow that I must dress all in black and prowl the streets at night to prevent each and every mugging. Doing this would distract us from our proper duties and very likely cause us to run afoul of the natural rights of others, so the prohibition on vigilantism properly belongs to the natural law.

Likewise, if I see a deranged man trying to kick a pregnant woman in the womb in order to induce a miscarriage, I’d be obliged to stop him. If I were carrying my pistol at the time, I’d probably shoot him. It doesn’t follow I must go anywhere and everywhere where unborn babies are in danger of being killed and stop all of them, even though, yes, an abortionist is literally morally as heinous as a deranged man trying to kick a pregnant woman in the womb.

Now, none of us are likely to witness a legal abortion in the course of a day. These things occur in private. Which means to be placed in a situation where one would be morally obliged to stop the abortion, one would already have to be in abortion clinic witnessing it being performed.

I don’t know what you mean by bombing Auschwitz. We didn’t bomb it in WW2 and haven’t bombed it since then, and what would be the point of bombing it if its empty, anyway? I see what you mean, but I hope you realize that the question itself is silly: “Why is it OK for a state to bomb a building in the context of a just war but not OK for a private individual to bomb the same building outside the context of a just war?” The answer is the lack of a just war.

The abortion clinic bomber is likely to say that his blowing up the abortion clinic is morally permissible because the state is failing to do its job. In other words, he is saying the state has by negligence forfeited its moral legitimacy to command obedience to its own laws. Which means he is declaring war against the state. In order for a war to be just (i.e., morally permissible), several circumstances have to be in place. These include a reasonable probability of success. If there is no reasonable probability of success, then bombing the abortion clinic is impermissible on moral grounds, not just prudential ones.

A lot of this ground was covered by Edward Feser on his blog a while back, after the murder of George Tiller. He pointed out rightly that Tiller was a repulsive moral leper who deserved to die while simultaneously condemning his killer as a vigilante murderer who also deserves to die.

:eek: Lawful activity?? Catholic moral theology tells us that an unjust civil law is really no law at all.

You’re saying that because the govt says abortion is legal, as Christians our hands are suddenly bound from defending innocents from murder (consider if you’re right there in the abortion room)?

What nonsense. If the govt passes a law that Catholics are to be rounded up and shot – simply because it’s “sanctioned by a legitimately elected democratic government” – then you would be acting immorally if you use violence to try to defend your family. I hope you disagree with this statement. So why is it immoral to defend other groups that are similarly persecuted?

So let’s say someone tells you that a friend of his friend is planning to attack your friend as she goes home from work. You don’t know where or who the would-be assailant is, or if your informant is even telling the truth. But if you care about your friend, you will go check on her as she leaves her workplace, yes? And shoot the assailant, if any, yes? So I know that the abortion clinic over there is probably slated to have a baby murdered sometime soon. It’s open, isn’t it? So I go down, and see the assassin about to murder his client’s child, as ordered. And so I stop him, taking due risk that the force utilised may be lethal.

I did not mean a military bombing of Auschwitz. I was thinking something along the lines of a civilian who incidentally has a rather large bomb destroying a facility chock-full of equipment dedicated to killing the innocent. This person would almost certainly be hailed a hero, by the left and the right alike. And you do realise an abortion clinic is nothing more than a facility chock-full of equipment dedicated to killing the innocent.

As to those talking about laws, while we should respect human authority, we must hold them up to natural and divine authority. The State has fallen short; and so it is time to take matters into our own hands. The Christians resisted when the Romans tried to crush the Church, so once again must Christians resist when the liberal tyrants force murder on us, even if the penalty is being thrown to the lions.

We still have non-violent means open to us to end abortion, changing laws, petitioning governments for stricter conditions, assisting women, ministering to the very abortionists some wish to shoot.

Auschwitz was operational during a war. The Jews had no legal recourse to try and change their lot or change the minds of their captors. For them, what they did probably was their only chance - despite its failure.

If the law reached a stage where being pro-life was a crime, ministering to pregnant women would get you a jail sentence, and “multiple offenders” would be executed by the pro-abortion state, then perhaps you could have some moral excuse to shoot the abortionist. But not now.

I saw a stat that since the 60s in Canada and America combined only about 10 abortionists and staff have been killed by anti-abortion individuals. 10 approximate over almost 50 years. But the moment it happens, it causes the biggest mud storm, the pro-aborts get all worked up, furrowing their little brows and clenching their sweaty fists and generally public opinion swings towards those poor, hapless campions of women’s rights. :rolleyes:

Besides, we’re Pro-LIFE, that means we respect ALL human life. Including the murderer holding the suction cannula between the pregnant woman’s legs.

Last year my friends were expecting a baby but had many complications.

The doctors told them that they should have an abortion as the child would have many problems and a short life.

They were going to take the doctors advice but two days later she gave birth at 21 weeks and six days.

So in a matter or 48 hours it went from ok to murder the baby to criminal to murder the baby.

How much did that baby grow in 48 hours?

Thankfully, apart from needing oxygen for a few months, he is fine.

[quote=aquohn]Simple question: why is it wrong to shoot a doctor about to perform an abortion when it would not be wrong to shoot a contract killer hired by a child’s mother to kill a child? Why is it wrong to bomb and abortion clinic when it is not wrong to bomb Auschwitz (assuming both are empty when you bomb them)?

Excellent question!! Legally speaking abortion is not murder. But according to catholic teaching it is. And the question is not about the legality, rather the morality of these two acts.

[quote=surritter]Lawful activity?? Catholic moral theology tells us that an unjust civil law is really no law at all.

I would not recommend to use such an argument in the court of law. But your point is important in such a discussion.

To say that it would be futile to shoot a abortionist because other ones would pick up the practice is really funny, since it says that you should not do what you consider a moral obligation for pragmatic reasons. The same for the argument that it would hurt the pro-life cause - also a pragmatic consideration.

The truth is that you have no moral excuse not to shoot the abortionists! You teach one thing and do the other… What is such a behavior called? Yep… hypocrisy!!

I wonder why these questions are always about “shooting” the abortion doctor…
No one ever says is it alright to do some other ting to prevent the doctor from performing the abortion(s)…
How about kidnapping him and showing him films for the purpose of changing his mind?
How about kidnapping him and cutting off his hands…one could even find (ill informed) biblical precedence for that…or maybe just some fingers…

I’m being a bit facetious here…but why is it always - about killing the doctor…

Another point - and I think an important one that I have never seen addressed…In 1 Cor 5, St Paul says this:
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Drive out the wicked person from among you.”
No doubt at the time this was written the heathen / pagan world did many horrendously immoral things (by Judeo/Christian standards) but Paul tells the Corinthians that he (and they) are not to judge those outside the Church.
Are abortionists inside or outside of the Church?
Is the Government of the United States inside or outside the Church?

How then are we to apply this Scripture to our thoughts and actions to what is going on around us in the world?

Certainly we are to vote and preach and share the good news…but judging those outside the Church…that is a very different thing…


That’s not the exact teaching of the Catholic Church. If you are there in the room, with an innocent life about to be snuffed out, you should do whatever is necessary to stop the slaughter. Yes, FIRST we try non-violent means to divert the murderer. Next, we can use force to deflect the murderer, without causing serious harm. But if it comes to the ultimate, it is indeed moral to use lethal force upon the murderer. This is still being pro-life, because the direct action taken is to stop the murder, and the resulting death of the murderer is an unintended double effect.

Please read the Catechism, especially paragraphs 2263 and 2265.

I think many of you are getting so worked up by the statement that it is sometimes allowable to use lethal force to stop an abortionist – but here’s the part you are forgetting – if you are there when the abortion is about to happen and if other non-lethal means are not sufficient.

[quote=JRKH]I wonder why these questions are always about “shooting” the abortion doctor…

It is somewhat stereotypical, for sure.

But the point is that if one is in situation to defend himself, or one’s family, or one’s neighbor, or one’s “extended” neighbor then it is morally allowed to use whatever force is necessary to prevent that, even using lethal force if necessary. Naturally, if a lesser “force” is sufficient, or one can dissuade the attacker without resorting to force at all, then one is obligated to use as little force as possible - to achieve the same result.

Also in real life it did happen (unfortunately) that some people DID shoot the doctor, or stalked their family. As such the presented scenario is not too esoteric.

Now, if someone actually believes that abortion is murder, and knows that it is going to happen, then according to the accepted morals (which coincides with the church’s teaching) it is allowed to use as much force as necessary - and if the only recourse is to kill the doctor, that that is what must be done. However, there is a difference. In the usual scenario one is at the point of defending oneself (or the others) and one must act then and there. There is no other recourse, no calling for help. In the abortion example, there is the ability to go to the police, and say that Dr. X is an abortionist, and then demand that the police should step in and prevent the “murder”. The result would be — interesting ;). The person probably would be told that abortion is not murder, just like a legally sanctioned execution is not murder, and probably would be sent home with a stern warning not to act as a vigilante. Or maybe the person would be considered deranged and put in a looney bin.

And if, after all that the person would still grab a gun and kill Dr. X, then he would be prosecuted and hopefully convicted on charge of first degree murder.

Of course, all that is legal stuff, not to be confused with the perceived moral obligation of stepping in and preventing an attempted murder. If the perceived moral obligation is considered higher than the “law of the land” (and that is what the church teaches), then the person is obliged to go ahead and kill that doctor. Fortunately most people do not actually do that.

I know that is is stereotypical…which is why I posted all of the stuff after the part you “snipped”. To open up the conversation to the other concepts and points…

I’m especially interested in anyone’s take on St Paul’s outlook…


What is at stake is not just one child but millions.

Killing an abortion doctor or nurse will not save millions of unborn babies. Pro-aborts would merely use this event as proof that the pro-life movement is full of nutters and would-be terrorists.

So if my daughter is going to get an abortion can I tie her up in my basement until the baby is born? Would that be moral?

If the pro-life movement wants to ensure that abortion stays legal then all it needs to do is sanction the killing of abortionists.
The war has to be won in peoples’ minds not fought in streets and clinics.

Would a democratic government ever pass a law to round up Catholics?

A democratically elected government? Would it?

Of course not, but it could pass a pro-abortion law, and it could also pass laws to stop abortion, and in order for it do to that the electorates’ minds need to be changed.

No. You’d be obliged to report him to the lawful authorities, i.e., the people charged with the maintenance of the common good. You are not the lawful authorities. QED.

No, it isn’t, for the reasons I already mentioned. Legitimate vigilantism requires a declaration that the state has lost authority to command obedience to its laws; in other words, a declaration of war. For a war against the state to be justice, it requires a reasonable probability of success. No such probability exists. Therefore no such war is legitimate – not even on moral grounds.

Their “resistance” consisted in their continuing to practice the Christian religion even in the face of it being outlawed by the state. The state cannot command disobedience to the divine law.

Most of the early martyrs went meekly to their deaths, following Christ’s example. Because the Roman state was a legitimate authority which could legitimately command their deaths.

Your recalcitrant ignorance of Catholic moral theology is really quite embarrassing. You should do some elementary homework on the topic before presuming to mouth off about it in public.

And they went singing and praising God for giving them the opportunity to die in the same way as their Saviour.

You have a lot of faith in democracy! I wasn’t musing on whether it would happen; suppose it somehow came to pass. I was asking if lethal force is allowed if your family is threatened, and you implied that it is not morally permitted to do so.

So back to the original question: Do you really stand by your earlier post that we cannot ever intercede with violence, if necessary, to stop the abortionist, simply because it’s legal in the country where we reside?

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