From the Left



Why won't pro-lifers act against our deadly gun culture?

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- Let us hear no more lectures from Clarence Thomas on the sanctity of human life.

The Supreme Court justice, with timing that could be charitably described as clumsy, issued his latest paean to gun rights Tuesday, as the child victims of last week's school shooting were still being buried.

Reacting to his colleagues' refusal to hear a case challenging California's waiting period for gun purchases, he complained that justices would hear similar challenges to abortion, speech or privacy. "The Court would take these cases because abortion, speech, and the Fourth Amendment are three of its favored rights," Thomas wrote. "The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this Court's constitutional orphan."

Not for the first time, Thomas has it backward. Abortions are restricted far more than guns (and abortions are declining, while gun deaths are rising). Even speech is limited if it endangers life. Why shouldn't there be reasonable restrictions on guns, too?

But Thomas has a bigger problem: claiming to be "pro-life" while his advocacy of unlimited gun rights expands a culture of death. The gun-control movement has been reluctant to use such words, lest it be seen as aping the anti-abortion movement. But the theme is apt, and it points to the hypocrisy of those who profess to be pro-life but are also pro-gun without exception, those who denounce the termination of a pregnancy but not the termination of innocent life outside the womb.

Even though 92 percent of abortions take place in the first trimester, the pro-life movement takes particular aim at late-term abortion. So let's think of the Parkland victims in those terms:

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Nicholas Dworet, who aspired to swim in the 2020 Olympics, was killed in the 72nd trimester of his life, a month shy of his 18th birthday.

Carmen Schentrup, a 2018 National Merit Scholarship finalist, was killed at the end of her 68th trimester of her life and buried the day before her 17th birthday.

Peter Wang, who had not yet reached his 64th trimester, was buried in his Junior ROTC uniform and was accepted posthumously at West Point.

They had a right to life. So did the 12 other kids and two faculty members who died.


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