I guess there are those who say the anti-abortion movement is morally and/or ethically equal to the Civil Rights movement. Both (supposedly) broke laws in the pursuit of a higher justice. Yet the comparison breaks down rather quickly. There are several good posts on this subject. Over on Lawyers, Guns and Money
is this breakdown of differences.
- Contrary to FactChuck, violence was not merely "threatened" by radical anti-abortion activists. Members of the group in question in this case were involved in bombings and other extreme acts of violence, and women were injured by Operation Rescue [OR] blockades. (Conversely, Martin Luther King never bombed a Klan meeting. Fred Shuttlesworth didn't shoot George Wallace with a high-powered rifle. Nor did civil rights leaders condone such acts.)
- Even if we write off the violence as aberrational, to compare the tactics of OR to those of the civil rights movement is empirically wrong and morally and politically reprehensible. Sit-ins were not trying to prevent other people from eating; they were trying to compel restaurants to provide African-Americans with the same service they were providing everyone else. Non-violent resistance on behalf of voting rights did not try to stop white people from voting. (This is not to say, of course, that groups like OR do not use any tactics comparable to the civil rights movement, but these tactics are completely irrelevant to Bray. To borrow Amanda's language, OR can wave all the bloody fetuses and hand out all the pamphlets they want; nobody questions that.)
- Perhaps most importantly, civil rights activists had positive law on their side. While it was true that civil rights activists were often charged with trespassing, violating injunctions, and the like, these actions by the state were almost always unconstitutional. (And, by this I don't merely mean that I think they were unconstitutional, but that the United States Supreme Court thought they were unconstitutional.) While Randall Terry may sincerely believe that a fetus is a human life and that this justifies a variety of illegal activity, this belief (unlike equal protection and voting rights) is not inscribed anywhere in American law. OR and its ilk, therefore, are more comparable to the Klan than to the civil rights movement. They use illegal means to achieve illegal ends.
has a examination of John Roberts past legal involvement with some cases. She also has another post on a recent NARAL ad
. And in yet a third post is this tidbit
mentioning Rust v. Sullivan "in which he [Roberts] argued that Operation Rescue did not discriminate against women, but instead 'pregnant people.'" The law is very strange when an argument like that can be put forward without being laughed out of court.