Somewhere in the last ten to fifteen years, the Pro-Life movement took a massive detour – for the worse. Pro-Lifers stopped trying to educate the public and persuade people of the very obvious evil of abortion. Or at least the movement greatly pulled back on those efforts. Instead, conservatives in various State legislatures decided to chip away at abortion with a massive barrage of “base hit” incremental laws.
The Washington Examiner reports http://washingtonexaminer.com/70-new-anti-abortion-laws-okd-in-22-states-second-most-ever/article/2541498 that 22 States enacted 70 new laws to restrict abortion in 2013, the second ever in one year, A new report from the Guttmacher Institute said that nearly 90 were passed in 2011. Guttmacher said that 205 abortion restrictions were approved over only the past three years, more than the 189 enacted during the previous decade.
There has been a flurry of legislation aimed at regulating abortion clinics, outlawing certain categories of abortion, and placing restrictions on abortion procedures. A few in-your-face legislative proposals in many States have been explicitly designed to set up further court challenges to abortion itself. But trying to challenge Roe v. Wade in courts is ultimately suicidal because there has been no real improvement in the Federal courts to make the outcome any different this time than in 1973.
This new strategy – at least by itself – has been harmful. It has created a backlash against the Pro-Life cause. Attempts to defuse the abortion issue by saying that the U.S. Supreme Court has already settled the question are up-ended by legislation whose purpose is to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider and reverse Roe v. Wade.
Of courser the goal is to save as many human beings as possible from having their bodies sliced into pieces by a scalpel slashing around inside a woman’s tender womb, then vacuumed out in pieces. It is true that every starfish thrown back into the ocean is worth saving even if the boy in the famous story cannot save them all. But the long-term political damage of this strategy will result in more babies being killed or rather fewer being saved compared to the current baseline.
There can be no real Pro-Life movement without persuasion of society at large. Without making the country see that abortion is murder and it must be outlawed for the protection of innocent life, nothing else makes sense. And nothing else will work. By pushing ahead aggressively on legislative restrictions, without first building public support, abortion opponents have created controversy, misunderstanding, and a backlash. They have energized and empowered advocates for murdering helpless children.
The Pro-Life movement must return to persuasion, hopefully alongside legislation. And Pro-Lifers must discover how to argue their case more successfully. When an argument fails, the proper response is to figure out where it went wrong. The wrong response is to quit, run away, and abandon all hope. Our society was built on elemental proverbs such as “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
The task is actually quite easy. Most Pro-Lifers are converts. If those currently fighting abortion were converted to the cause by persuasion, it is obviously possible. When shown the facts and given enough time to think it through, many supporters of abortion do change their minds.
Your author was originally pro-abortion. As a wayward college student, I didn’t know much about the topic. Like most men, I hoped that if women had fewer reasons to hesitate to have sex, it could improve my chances. Men whose motivations are purely selfish support abortion far more strongly than women.
Before I became a Christian or started attending any church, I enrolled in a human sexuality course at a secular, taxpayer-funded university. The course used a Planned Parenthood curriculum. It was far more boring and technical than I had imagined. But it promoted promiscuity, ridiculed traditional values, and portrayed restraint as an artificial and wrong social construct.
Then the course briefly described the technical details of abortion. The message was that abortion is wonderful. But as soon as the technical details were presented, I was shocked. “That’s murder!” I was forced to tell myself, against my desires. It was the saline abortion technique that did it. Since I had taken organic chemistry before changing majors from Physics to Finance, I instantly recognized that a saline abortion is an act of poisoning. You don’t poison something unless it is alive.
Minor amounts of salt inside your body are essential. But if the massive doses used in a saline abortion were injected into your arm, you would fall over and die within minutes. That’s what happens to the unborn child. The right balance is critical. I realized you don’t poison a door knob or a toaster. An abortion kills a living thing.
How hard can it be for conservatives who are actually trying to be able to win this argument? Only the raw facts convinced me that abortion is murder – when I did not want to hear that – when presented in a pro-abortion curriculum by a pro-abortion instructor. The widespread belief that a person’s mind cannot be changed on abortion conflicts with experience.
Yet the Republican Party sees that it has not closed the sale on abortion. So the GOP solution is always to quit at the first sign of difficulty. Republicans do not try to figure out how to do a better job presenting its arguments (or a better job doing anything at all). The GOP is always thinking about whether to abandon its policy positions or throw its candidates overboard. The first and only instinct of the GOP is to eagerly choose defeat.
Democrat hysteria makes less sense than sightings of the Abominable Snowman. Also, the idea that conservatism can be divided between social issues and fiscal issues is a questionable thought, which Ronald Reagan rejected. Yet any policy is damaging when badly handled and implemented. A good policy can appear bad if promoted ineffectively. The problem with the defense of human life is not with the policy, but with the failure of persuasion and presentation.
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