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Abortion and Nuclear Weapons

To our fellow pro-lifers who oppose abortion

And our fellow peace advocates who oppose nuclear weapons

Here are some reflections on the connection between the two. Both of them rely on the idea that it’s acceptable to kill large numbers of innocent people.

Unborn baby and nuclear mushroom cloud images

Archbishop Fulton Sheen, “The Approach of Midnight” 

open quote   How do we know the limits of the identity of the state of Illinois? By its boundary lines. A basketball court? By its foul lines. How do we know our own identity? By limits; by boundaries; by law; by order. And I think we lost all of these at 8:15 in the morning August the 6th 1945 when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. That bomb blotted out boundaries of life and death, civilian and the military; and trust among nations. And so abortion from that point on is defended on the ground that one may do whatever he pleases.close quote

Photo of Herman Kahn Herman Kahn

Herman Kahn, On thermonuclear war, Princeton University Press, 1960, p. 50

(Note: though he sounds like an abortionist, he’s actually a nuclear strategist)

        open quoteProbably of limited significance to us are the so-called embryonic  deaths. These are conceptions which would have been successful if it had not been for radiation that damaged the germ cell and thus made the potential conception result in a failure. There will probably be five million of these in the first generation, and one hundred million in future generations . . . On the whole, the human race is so fecund that a small reduction in fecundity should not be a serious matter even to individuals. It is almost completely misleading to include the ‘early deaths’ or embryonic deaths in the same total with the major and minor defects, but this is sometimes done by scientists who have overemphasized the abstraction ‘genetic death’ and thus lost sight of the difference in terms of human tragedy of a serious defect or an embryonic death.close quote



Photo of Julianne WileyJulianne Wiley (founder, Prolifers for Survival)

Julianne Wiley, Consistently Opposing Killing, Praeger, 2008, p. 106

Chapter 12, Activists Reminisce: An Oral History of Prolifers for Survival

open quoteTo me nuclear weapons and abortion were perfect bookends, symmetrical images of each other. They both involved a frank commitment to targeting innocent targets, and they both depended on the calculated willingness to destroy them deliberately. Looking at it from a reasonable definition of murder -- the deliberate killing of innocent persons -- it was to me not debatable. I mean, it was not like nuclear power which had calculable risks that could be compared against other risks. Or even conventional war, which can have degrees of limitations, which makes a just war preferable to an unjust peace. The two issues struck me as being so absolute they set up a kind of a north and south pole, a whole magnetic force that drew in a lot of other issues because of the clarity of those two.close quote

Consistent Life Mission Statement

Consistent Life is committed to the protection of life, which is threatened in today's world by war, abortion, poverty, racism, capital punishment, and euthanasia. We believe that these issues are linked under a consistent ethic of life. We challenge those working on all or some of these issues to maintain a cooperative spirit of peace, reconciliation, and respect in protecting the unprotected.

Consistent Life Purpose Statement

We serve the anti-violence community by connecting issues, building bridges, and strengthening the case against each kind of socially-approved killing by consistently opposing them all.

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