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The first set of criticisms calls into question whether the behaviors and utterances of the Live Action “actors” were really lies.
So I believe we should conclude without doubt that the “actors” in the Live Action videos did indeed lie.
This obviously raises the next crucial question: were they wrong to do so?
Consider the following scenario: I spend $500 of family money on gambling.
My wife has a right to know what happened to this money; my ten-year old son does not.
But perhaps the Live Action agents did not actually make false assertions?
A perusal of the transcripts suggests the implausibility of this view.And it would justify untenable conclusions, for if anything is justified in war, it is the use of arms.Yet the pro-life movement has, rightly in my view, converged on an understanding that the use of arms to stop abortion is right: it provides a counter-witness to the value of life; it constitutes an unjustified attack on our nation’s overall legal structure; and it is unlikely either to bring peace or to result in a proportionate balance of benefits over harms. Perhaps, as some suggest, lying could be justified via double effect?This judgment reaffirms a claim from the Catechism of the Council of Trent: “In a word, lies of every sort are prohibited.” But we seek here some further understanding of why this unequivocal condemnation might be entirely reasonable.The first objection was, to recall, that lying is permissible in war.In the Bronx Planned Parenthood Transcript, for example, the “pimp” says, “Now, also, so we’re involved in sex work, so we have some other girls that we manage and work with that they’re going to need testing as well.” While these seem like straightforward lies, some have suggested that “sex work” here is ambiguous, and that the actors mean something like “work that will end the sex trade.” I can only say that this view strains credulity.Others have claimed that Live Action did, or could, work only with “hypotheticals”: “what would you say if…” sorts of questions.More importantly here, however, it is crucial to point out that the pro-life movement is not, in any but the most distantly metaphorical sense, “at war” with Planned Parenthood.To take such a claim strictly would raise unsolvable problems in terms of just war thought: who, for example, is the legitimate authority that has tasked Lila Rose with this work?Without such revelation, the truth would be unavailable to our stranger, as would all the other goods that would be available by means of the truth, such as the stranger’s getting to the theater in time to meet his friends and enjoy the show.But truthful communication also discloses something personal: in affirming that things are nature is responsible for a well-known aspect of such small gestures of kindness to a stranger as providing accurate directions: to disclose oneself to another through honest communication is a primordial act of the creation of a community, a community which, in this case, is short-lived, but no less real for that.