Did you read the comments on Ellie’s post from last week How Christians Might Be Sabotaging the Pro-Life Movement? They were just as interesting as the post! Ellie’s post went live and within 24 hours there were over 60 comments, plus more on Facebook. The response was more than I was anticipating, and I was relieved to see that the majority of the comments were encouraging and positive. But there was some debate and infighting and name calling, and to be honest, my heart sank a little. Granted, I’ve heard worse between my own five young sons (“Dummy” is the insult of the week), but it was still discouraging for me. It wasn’t even pro-lifers arguing with people who are pro-choice! It was people who all want the same thing.
It left me wondering: Is our best energy spent arguing with one another?
We are on the SAME team. We all want the same thing, right?
I agreed to be a part of this blog because I fully support the Anti-Choice Project and its mission of making abortion impossible to ignore or trivialize and I want to step up my involvement in ending this holocaust. But is this really something I want to deal with? Maybe my skin is too thin. Is this what it means to be pro-life: Pointing out straw-man arguments like it’s my part-time job? Trying to outdo another with my ability to copy and paste Bible verses to prove a point?
After reading all of the comments on Ellie’s post from last Monday, I was doubting myself. Maybe it’s better to stay under the radar and not deal with being misunderstood and judged. Is there even space for me in the pro-life movement? Am I too religious? Or not religious enough? Maybe I’ll write something that is too emotional or easily refutable. And worse than that, I don’t know all the talking points. I don’t know all the politics.
And really there has to be, right? There has to be space for everyone. We will never win this war if the only way to be pro-life is narrowly defined homogeny; if the only acceptable rhetoric is tightly controlled.
Maybe what is preventing people from becoming pro-life or more actively pro-life is that they don’t see anyone who looks like them. Or maybe they go on a blog and see pro-lifers calling one another sociopaths and accusing them of being dishonest. Maybe they wonder to themselves, “If this is how they treat people who are on the same team, what about someone who isn’t?”
There has to be space in the pro-life movement for all of us to be who we are. There has to be space for secular pro-lifers, Christians, Democrats, articulate intellectuals, and people who have never even heard of the term “straw man argument”.
There has to be space for silent prayer warriors, the image-of-aborted-baby-sign holders, the single mother supporters, the foster parents, the men and women who regret their abortion, the men and women who help those who need healing, the abortion survivors, and those who help abortion workers get out of the industry, overly sincere pro-life movie makers, lawmakers, voters, incrementalists, letter-to-the-editor writers, marchers, undercover investigators, rosary praying Grandmas, and stay-at-home moms like myself who could tell you more about the intricate differences between diaper brands than I could about the pro-life stances of the potential Republican candidates.
I found this quote in the Pro-Life Activist’s Encyclopedia, published by American Life League:
Tactics are used to win individual battles, while strategies are employed to win the war. An effective strategy consists of a melding of all of the tactics that experience has revealed are useful in various situations.
It is essential to remember that all organizations and tactics are important in the winning of any war. The front-line troops cannot degrade or ridicule the rear-echelon supply personnel, because no army can win a war without equipment and supplies. Likewise, the support people can’t assume an air of superiority either; the fighting troops are necessary for victory.
We must all work together in the unending war against abortion… Any energy expended in sniping at each other is that much less energy that can be spent fighting the real enemy [emphasis mine]. Every organization is vital for victory… There is a place for everyone and every skill imaginable in the pro-life movement.
Our tactics may differ, but our ultimate objective is the same: VICTORY!
It is important for us to educate ourselves and to be open to hearing about the different methods that are being used in this fight to abolish abortion. How can we expect pro-choicers who disagree with us to be open to what we are saying, if we refuse to listen to one another?
Maybe after we kindly and graciously listen, we still don’t like what other pro-lifers are doing or why they are doing it. Good! That’s fine. We weren’t designed to all agree on every single little thing. That’s the beauty of being human and having free will. But what if, we each just chose to rise above it? To be constructive and not destructive?
Let’s direct all that time and energy and intensity, not on attacking our fellow pro-lifer, but on doing something else pro-life! The sooner we each jump in and do our part and add our own single small voices, the sooner we can bring about an end to abortion.
What do you think pro-life unity looks like?
Is it possible for us to agree to disagree?
What do you think about coalitions like ProLifeAllies who are working to end abortion AND pro-life infighting?