Fighting The Good War
By Wendell Cantrell
The pro-life movement seems to be gaining instead of suffering from the current neglect from mainstream media. When it comes to moral battles, gay marriage or gender definition issues are a lot more likely to get the coverage both in TV and print. Charmaine Yoest, of Americans United for Life, says that news show bookers tell her, “We don’t want to talk about abortion. We’re tired of it.” The latest demonstration of this has been the unbelievable lack of coverage in mainstream media of the murder trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, a physician at a Philadelphia Abortion Center. He was recently convicted for taking the lives of three aborted babies who showed signs of life. Numerous witnesses described in detail how these living babies were literally beheaded. If these were puppies, the media would have been all over it. Obviously, there is serious concern about women’s rights being affected by this case. One upside of the sparse coverage is less nightly blasting of the pro-life movement.
The Weekly Standard1 compares the gay rights fight and the pro-life movement with two historic wars of our past. Foes of gay rights are now seen by the press as fighting the bad war, roughly analogous to Vietnam. Pro-lifers are waging the good war, like World War II. “You get much less grief fighting against abortion than you do fighting to preserve traditional marriage,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
So how is the good war going? In spite of the lack of media coverage, the momentum continues to grow. Baptist Press2 lists five reasons for the progress in the “good war” (emphasis mine):
1) The use of the high-tech ultrasound machine affirms what embryology textbooks have told us all along – that the unborn child is truly a human being. Frances Kissling, former president of Catholics for Choice, advised abortion-rights advocates to shift strategies; “We can no longer pretend the fetus is invisible.”
2) Media: Admittedly under-utilized. In a 2009 episode of “Law and Order–Dignity,” a female attorney seeking justice for a murdered abortion doctor is shaken by a description of partial-birth abortion. She says, “I grew up thinking Roe v. Wade was gospel. Now, I don’t know where my freedom ends and the dignity of another being begins.”
3) Young People: Teenage singing sensation Justin Bieber, was recently asked by Rolling Stone for his position on abortion: “I really don’t believe in abortion,” he said, since abortion is “like killing a baby.” Bieber is not alone. The sea of young faces at a recent annual “March for Life” in Washington prompted NARAL Pro-Choice America President Nancy Keenan to share a worrisome thought, “There are so many of them, and they are so young!”
4) The Third Wave: John Ensor of Heartbeat International says: “In the first wave, Catholics took the lead in declaring the inherent evil of abortion. Evangelicals then flooded in to help advance the pregnancy help movement. The Third Wave points to the victory of our movement and the downfall of abortion as a business, when Black and Hispanic Christians not only join this movement, but lead it.” There is growing awareness that abortion clinics target poor minorities in the inner city. When the overtly racist agenda of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger is fully grasped, some pro-choice advocates, especially minorities, begin to reconsider their assumptions.
5) Current legislation: While Roe still stands, legislators in numerous states have begun chipping away at the implications of that decision. A recent substantial blow is the passing in numerous states of the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” banning abortions after the infant could feel pain (twenty weeks). Also, personhood initiatives that grant personhood to the earlier embryonic stage keep cropping up in state after state. In July, Texas passed a bill placing some of the toughest restrictions in the country. We joined the twenty-week restriction group mentioned above, as well as adding the requirement that abortion clinics meet hospital standards. Evidence of corruption at abortion clinics will continue to be highlighted, especially following the Gosnell trial. Planned Parenthood’s advocates have sought to redirect the discussion by pointing to all the other health care services their clinics provide for low-income women. This downplaying of abortion and emphasizing of other services is a stunning admission that abortion is a problem. Planned Parenthood’s talking points indicate that fewer and fewer Americans can stomach the idea of “abortion as health care”.
Though we admired the raw courage and the work of the old, white patriarchs of the antiabortion movement (Jerry Falwell, Henry Hyde, Jesse Helms, and Pat Robertson), we are in a new age now. The most passionate and visible advocates for the rights of the unborn are young Christian working mothers with children at home. These women leaders, like Dannenfelser (mentioned above), offer much more relatability. They are well-educated. Dannenfelser received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her first job out of college was in the Reagan White House. They also can converse frankly and easily about distressed young mothers facing tough decisions.
At a recent conference, I had a chance to hear from some real heroes (again, young and passionate) in the pro-life movement. First was a young Californian, named Lila Rose. She founded a pro-life group called Live Action at the age of 15! She was home-schooled and continued her activism at UCLA, of all places. In 2006, she and some colleagues began undercover operations in Planned Parenthood offices in several major cities clearly showing how they are willing to ignore the “under-age issue” as well as others, to achieve their end goal – abortion. The second group of heroic youngsters had a pro-life nonprofit called Save the Storks. They build fleets of mobile ultrasound units (called Stork Buses) that pregnancy centers can park outside abortion clinics where they meet with abortion-minded women. Three out of five women who enter the unit end up choosing life!
Many of these warriors are not visible at a national level. Praise God for the warriors of our very own here at DBC. Let’s keep them in our prayers. We will hopefully hear from one of them in our next issue.
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Previous issues of Culture Watch are available here.
1) Weekly Standard Nov 7, 2011
2) Baptist Press Jul 15, 2011
ENGAGE 2013 at Denton Bible Church, Saturday, Oct 5.
Do recent events in our country have you asking “What now?” Join us to hear engaging speakers like Marvin Olasky, John Stonestreet, and Jeff Ventrella as they challenge us to be winsomely representing Christ in our community. The day-long conference includes Action sessions designed to equip each of us to more effectively live out a biblical worldview in our decaying society. Action sessions will cover topics like Culture of Life, Marriage, Religious Liberty, and Mentoring. Register online at www.worldmag.com/engage. If you have any questions contact Wendell Cantrell at firstname.lastname@example.org