Lila Rose Revisited
Some time ago I wrote a post expressing some of my reservations about the activities of Lila Rose and her organization, Live Action. In light of their most recent undercover sting operation, it is a good time to revisit some of the objections and debates that came up earlier. Initially I believed that Live Action’s activities were morally questionable in some cases, and definitely wrong in others.
I have to say that I stand by this assessment today, for several reasons I will state below.
First I want to make clear that I am 100% pro-life; I make no exceptions for rape, incest, or “to save the life of the mother”, for it is never permissible to kill an innocent human being to save another human being. At the legislative level I would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, in which case many pre-Roe abortion bans would immediately regain their full force in many states.
Moreover, I think the extent of my opposition to abortion can be explain in the following way: I would actually have less of a problem with the destruction of Planned Parenthood’s property, crippling their evil work indefinitely, than I do with the deceptive campaign of Live Action. The right to life trumps the right to property, after all, and someone who uses their property, their advanced equipment and facilities, to commit mass murder has lost their absolute right to it as far as I am concerned. I wouldn’t consider sabotaging the machines and implements of death, or otherwise rendering the abortion mill inoperative, to be the least bit immoral.
I also fully support using the most graphic, bloody images we can find of abortion and its aftermath, and I do so precisely because these images reveal the truth of abortion, and contrary to what some detractors claim, serve to humanize the unborn in a way that language cannot.
I say these things up front because some may believe that those who hold reservations about Live Action’s methods are weak-kneed in the fight against abortion. This is far from the case. I support many measures that most “respectable” (i.e. cowardly) people would find unacceptable. I don’t care if people want to chain themselves to the doors of abortion clinics, as activists used to sometimes do. I don’t oppose any number of efforts to harass and disrupt Planned Parenthood.
But in my estimation, premeditated, pre-orchestrated campaigns of deception are the weapons of Satan. My conscience has never been “right” with the methods of Live Action. I do not believe that the ends justify the means, even though I am in frequent conflict with people over the moral status of certain “means” (some will disagree with my acceptance of property destruction and showing violent images on these grounds). I could quote Catechisms, saints, theologians and the like, but I don’t find it necessary. When we sin against the truth, we sin against God in a most egregious way.
In this particular case, there are many reasons to find Live Action’s methods not only immoral, but unwise:
In the first place, you lower yourself to the level of the person you are trying to expose. One of the PP workers in the videos counsels deception herself, telling the “pimp” that he should call his sex-slaves “students” in order to avoid suspicion. Even more importantly, we should keep in mind that the pro-abortion movement is based entirely upon lies! Is this who we want to emulate? Radical feminists and communists deliberately falsified many statistics in order to convince people that abortion was a social necessity. We cannot follow them down this road.
In the second place, PP can always claim that this was the personal decision of a low-level employee, and not official policy; there is plausible deniability.
Which leads me to point three: could this not give the impression that if PP were to somehow reform or update its official policies, that it would then be a respectable institution? Sex-slavery is a horrible blight on the planet, but is the main problem with PP really that it covers up the crimes of pimps? Of course not. On one level you might say that if the people can’t be convinced that child murder in general is wrong and should be illegal, you can at least try to show them how PP violates laws and moral rules that they actually value. But what if PP could be brought into full conformity with all the laws? Would we then sit back and call this a “victory”? Because realistically that is what PP will be asked to do before it is ever shut down. Then what?
Frankly I don’t care that Planned Parenthood breaks the law. It is perfectly in conformity with the law when it murders millions of babies. Furthermore it is almost impossible to see how a single life will be saved by this activity, or how it will even really slow down PP’s child-killing operations. So a receptionist or even a manager gets fired. So people see that PP breaks the law. Why would that ever change someone’s mind about abortion? What if it just convinces the abortionists and their supporters that they need a better act? What if people on the fence accepted this act?
There’s no necessary connection between abortion and sex-slavery or any other crime. One can be pro-abortion and anti-pimp, and I imagine the vast majority of pro-abortion feminists actually are. So these campaigns, in addition to being based upon deceptions, have the effect of actually shifting the focus away from the immorality, the absolute evil of abortion, and placing it somewhere else.
Schemes of this sort are always a gamble, they always have unintended consequences. That is among the many reasons why we ought not resort to them. And really, in the end, if the ends justify the means, then we should be assassinating abortionists, not lying to their secretaries. But the ends don’t justify the means, vengeance belongs to the Lord, and we must have faith that we will prevail in truth before we resort to what appears to be a quick and easy way in falsehood. It isn’t actually our job to save the world from Planned Parenthood; it is our job to be faithful to Christ, to obey His law, to trust in His final victory and judgment.