Think you’ve heard it all about abortion? Then think again!


(image courtesy of shutterstock.com)

Someone asked me, recently, what I thought the status is of the pro-life movement, and I said, “sort of stagnant.” Different polling shows different data (and as Sr. Mary Ann Walsh noted at the USCCB Media Blog, “it’s all in how you ask the questions”) but whether anything is really changing is anyone’s guess and tactics — on both sides — are awfully stale and predictable. When it is politically expedient for them to do so, the pro-abortion side hauls out its “war on women” narratives, replete with Pelosian “women bleeding to death on floors” rhetoric meant to make you put all thinking aside in order to feel, feel, and feel, which is cheap manipulation, of course.

But the pro-life side sometimes seems stuck and out of ideas as well. I recently unfriended someone on Facebook and when she asked me why, I told her, “every night my timeline gets cluttered up with your endless memes about abortion, and while I appreciate your passion, I’m already in the choir and don’t need to hear/see you full-blasting it. What purpose is all of that serving but your own sense of needing to “do something?” You only follow people you agree with, so what’s the point? You’re posting pro-life memes among pro-life people. Whose heart or mind are you changing?”

And yes, all of that meme-ing is its own sort of emotional manipulation.

Perhaps with some justice, she got mad at me, but over an email exchange this lady admitted that no, she wasn’t being terribly effective and yes, she felt helpless to do more and was out of ideas.

Well, there are actually lots of ways to work to end abortion. One way is to support women like Jeanette Meyer, who openly talks about her multiple abortions and how she was healed from suicidal torment and inspired to help other women, and like Katrina Fernandez, who was petrified to discuss her painful experiences but can testify to the power of prayer.

But the best way to reinvigorate the pro-life movement and get away from this state of stasis is to work to change hearts and minds. I recall one March for Life, then-president George W. Bush stated that the abortion problem would not go away until a change takes place in the human heart. He was exactly right, of course, but Ann Coulter and others took him to task for being off-message or not on their message, or too compassionate or something. I forget, because that sort of in-fighting grows so tiresome.

Bush was correct: within our hearts there is a brokenness that may be part of our Original Sin but also grows beyond it, particularly as the culture becomes more comfortable and thoughtless about dehumanizing whatever does not suit the zeitgeist.

How do we effect a change to hearts and minds? How do we respect “feelings, feelings, feelings” but also encourage real thinking, thinking, thinking in order to re-teach the value and dignity of the human person to men and women who have been too-long cajoled into forgetting it, thanks to our me-centric, throw-away culture?

I think we do it by offering them something completely new to think about, by saying something new.

In fact, saying something new is essential, because we have all heard every one of the arguments, from every side, for forty years, and hearts and minds are hardly budged.

But is there anything new to be said about abortion and women, and dignity and respect? Well, yes, there is, and over at the Washington Post “On Faith” section, our own Pat Gohn is saying it, and in a most pastoral, wise and moving way:

There’s no mistaking biology. Womanly bodies are wonderfully made, and purposefully created with an empty space of a womb carried under her heart.

A woman’s womb, her uterus, signals that she is made for something and someone more than herself. This reality touches a woman at her very core — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The womb’s raison d’etre illuminates this gift that welcomes and receives the life of a child, sheltering and nurturing it, until finally, a woman gives birth. We even use the expression — giving birth — denoting the gift that it is. The maternal gift ought to be honored and celebrated.

What’s more, a pregnant mother is entrusted with carrying an immortal soul besides her own — a soul that is destined for eternity. That’s why a woman really needs to be aware of the dignity of her feminine creation, and the sublime gift of her maternity, so she can confer that dignity on her child, and upon others through her love of life.

The gift of maternity is inherent in all women. They are predisposed to motherhood by their design. Yet, as we know, not all women bear children. Even if a woman never gives birth, a woman’s life is still inclined toward mothering. All women are entrusted with the call to care for the people within their sphere of influence. This broadens our ideas of maternity beyond gestation and lactation.

A woman’s relationships with others, even though they may not be fruitful biologically, can be fruitful spiritually. Therefore a woman’s life–her feminine genius–is characterized by physical and/or spiritual motherhood.

When the gift of a woman’s fertility and maternity are devalued, they are misinterpreted as liabilities or threats to a woman’s potential happiness, or earning power, or freedom.

Both women and men are crippled when disrespect for any of the gifts of the other are ignored, stifled, abused, or rejected. But women are demeaned when this precious part of them is reduced to a faculty to be managed, rather than a capability to be treasured.

This is a new approach to the question. It is pastoral. It is generous in spirit, and therefore it is instructive and convincing. Read the whole thing. Send it around.

I am thinking of sending a copy to Gov. Andrew Cuomo! :-)

Related, at Huffpo: The Beautiful and Efficient Anatomy of Pregnancy

Btw, if you like Pat’s piece, you should consider pre-ordering her upcoming book Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood, which is every bit as pastoral and instructive and chock full of wisdom you want to underline and ponder.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://rhyle@q.com rebecca

    Excellent article! Thank you.

  • JDC

    rhetoric meant to make you put all thinking aside in order to feel, feel, and feel, which is cheap manipulation, of course.

    This is an unfair characterization; the fact is that all rhetoric boils down to this, regardless of its source or the issue at hand — and the rhetoric of the above post is no exception. That’s just the nature of rhetoric.

    One might even argue that the rhetoric you’ve employed is more subtly misleading than the kind you’ve decried; it no less relies upon an appeal to “feeling” (remember, the cases for or against abortion are fundamentally moral in character, and no side in this discussion can claim to have somehow magically bridged the “is/ought” divide), while deriding opposing rhetoric for doing the very same thing. It leaves the sympathetic reader with the distinct impression that their in-group consists of thinkers (contrasted with those touchy-feely members of the opposing out-group), and it does so by means of emotionally charged language — language not only pertaining to abortion, the issue at hand, but also to thinking and feeling themselves, with one clearly being pegged as more favorable than the other. Coincidentally, the superior one happens to be the one you associate with your position.

    In other words, you’ve identified the nature of an opponent’s argument, but then your response in kind is deliberately structured to obscure the fact that it is cut from the same cloth. Thus, my charge of “more subtly misleading.”

    Consider the consequences: in this leg of the rhetorical arms race, even concepts like “thinking” are now becoming politically charged. The implication that accompanies that — that no one standing opposite me has truly thought out their stance on this issue — infantilizes opponents and allows for easier summary dismissal without any actual engagement. If your aim is meaningful discourse, then this is actually doing more harm than good.

    You’ll note that I have not introduced my own position on abortion in this comment. This is deliberate, as it’s entirely aside from my point, which concerns rhetoric and the role of different kinds of cognition in these broader matters. Telling you what I feel about abortion, however I may believe I have reached my conclusions on the matter, will do less to further discourse than telling you what I think about the way you’re employing concepts.

    [Thank you. I actually DID MEAN to bring up the point that the pro-life side brings its own emotionalism into the issue, particularly with the often dubiously-advised use of too-graphic images, but I'm working while both sick and distracted today, and I just blew it. I appreciate the comment as a reminder to be more careful in future. And I've added a line before I make my toddy. :-) admin]

  • Mary Ann

    Well, what Pat Gohn says is old hat and tired and stale and cliche-ish to those of us who have been activists for 40 years.

    To be renewed, pro-life work must be personal, about the person, the mother, the father, the child, the grandparent. It doesn’t need to get abstractly lovely about maternity. It needs to speak to the heart with story and image that move mind and heart together. Testimony should be part of every aspect of pro-life work. Simple stories that illumine the facts and the reality that everyone really already knows but is conditioned to avoid.

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  • Mary Ann

    It’s the difference between Prohibition and AA, between Carrie Nation and Bill W. For too long we have been Carrie Nation. It is time propose some simple truths in a personal way that invites a conversion of mind and heart, as Bill W. dod

  • Mark G.

    JDC – What I read was a call for a new approach to explain the pro-life message, not based on the crassness or emotional manipulation common to both sides, but a new approach that accords with both mind & heart (please don’t confuse heart with emotions). I hear a call to return to the root issues with new eyes & new language. In the given example, Ms. Gohn explains what a woman’s body is for, which is scientifically & philosophically sound. Genuine pro-life arguments have this luxury. Elizabeth isn’t guilty of what you charge her – which, ultimately, seems to be actually believing what she says she does.

  • JDC

    My point was not exactly that “both sides need to tone it down,” but more just to indicate that “emotionalism” is actually baked into moral arguments in such a fundamental way that there is really no way to avoid it. My point isn’t to suggest this emotional content is bad (which, itself, would be a normative statement that would probably have to rest on some kind of emotional appeal), but rather to decry the characterization of one side of the issue as somehow LESS emotional than the other.

    To be clear: I will absolutely agree that among proponents of a given side, you will find some who have given more thought to their stance than others. But I do not think that the average person on one side can meaningfully make claims about how thoughtful their average opponent is.

  • JDC

    Mark G:

    What I read was a call for a new approach to explain the pro-life message, not based on the crassness or emotional manipulation common to both sides, but a new approach that accords with both mind & heart (please don’t confuse heart with emotions).

    I don’t quite follow. If “heart” doesn’t refer to emotions, what exactly do you mean? The cardiac muscle?

    Further, if “mind” is contrasted with “heart,” but not in a way that translates to the typical (admittedly questionable) dichotomy of logic vs emotions, then what does “mind” even mean in the above quote?

    I hear a call to return to the root issues with new eyes & new language. In the given example, Ms. Gohn explains what a woman’s body is for, which is scientifically & philosophically sound.

    New language, sure. But this ultimately reduces to a new rhetorical angle, since the capacity for logical or inductive argument remains extremely limited. I’ve already referenced the is-ought problem above. And in the passage above, Ms. Gohn does indeed describe what the female primary sexual characteristics accomplish, but this in and of itself is not new; I’ve seen appeals to nature used to justify positions on abortion, homosexuality, and other related matters before. She definitely phrases it in an accessible and friendly way, but again, it’s still fundamentally a moral — and not a scientific — argument.

    Also, what do you mean by “philosophically sound”?

    Elizabeth isn’t guilty of what you charge her – which, ultimately, seems to be actually believing what she says she does.

    “Believing” and “knowing” and “thinking” and “feeling” are all words that take on different meanings in different contexts. This is unfortunate, because equivocation only makes communication all the more difficult. I do indeed have every confidence that Ms. Scalia believes what she says. I have no qualms with that whatsoever, and I have great respect for her opinions.

    However, insofar as the issues of “thinking” vs “feeling” in rhetoric (and the consequences thereof) are concerned, I believe I raised a legitimate objection, and I believe I have adequately substantiated it. If you disagree, I will gladly listen to your thoughts on where I’ve erred.

  • JDC

    Mark G: Apologies; I kind of botched my blockquotes there. I think it should still be clear where I’m speaking and where I’m quoting you, at any rate.

  • Chuck

    Why “unfriend” someone when you can simply unsubscribe from their posts? Although it did provide a perfect opportunity to explain to someone why they’re wrong and make them think a bit, a perfect intro to this piece. Loved it, and Pat’s excerpt.

  • http://www.patheos.com/About-Patheos/Pat-Gohn.html Pat Gohn

    Mary Ann,
    I’m gratified to know these ideas are old hat to you. I have the utmost respect for all the women and men I know that are doing the face-to-face, loving, come-alongside work in the wide arena of the pro-life ministries. My work, as a catechist, is not geared to convince longtime faithful workers in this field, but to be a supportive co-worker educationally. My work is to catechize those who have never heard this message, especially those within the Church. My goal is to present an introduction to the dignity, gifts, and mission of women, and only an friendly introduction at that.

    One small example: Recently I was in a church in the northeast, a gathering of about fifty women, to talk about some of these ideas. When I mentioned the “theology of the body”… an approach to human personhood preached by Bl. John Paul II, and many others in his footsteps, I asked how many women of the group actually knew, or even had heard of this message? No at single hand went up. Not one. And this from a group that was very engaged when we discussed other questions. So, I admit, some of what I’m teaching has been around for a while…indeed, many ideas since Vatican II. But, honestly, I did not hear this message of the Church’s good opinion of women growing up, nor did many of my peers. It’s not uncommon for me to find women in our churches today who cannot articulate their beauty and their blessedness… in the eyes of God, the Church, and the world. And yes, I do believe that stories and personal life testimony is the way to go. You are so right about that. My book is full of my own life journey to incarnate these truths in my own life. This is my way to give a voice, to be a guardian of life, but upholding its beauty in the women who need to hear it. Just like you are doing… by meeting each woman, and hearing her story, and introducing how she is part of God’s good story on earth. To give a reason for our hope.

  • http://PatrickofAtlantis.com Patrick of Atlantis

    People, who are passionate about killing babies in the womb, hate babies, especially other people’s babies.

  • Adam

    I wonder if part of the problem is that we never hear from the men on this. Abortion has been trumpeted for as long as I can remember as a woman’s issue on both sides: it’s her body, her choices, look what she has to live through…as well as on the pro-life side: women are abandoned, society pushes them into this, sex-selective abortions target unborn girls. Sorry, I don’t want to trivialize what a woman goes through in a pregnancy. However, it takes a man and a woman to make a baby, yet the abortion issue tends to focus *solely* on the female side of the equation.

    Last I checked, men are still about half of the voting bloc out there.

    Ironically, Slate of all places is running a piece today on how the pro-life movement has resulted in an increase of single motherhood. I think their conclusions are off the mark of some telling observations: women are keeping their babies, but children are growing up fatherless. (It’s been observed time and again that abortion benefits men the most–they get all the sex and none of the pressure of having to help raise their kids.) I imagine Slate would conclude that more single mothers justifies more abortions. I say, it justifies focusing on that other half of the equation: encouraging men to be more responsible.

    Young men should be encouraged to stay chaste, have a healthy relationship with their girlfriends, wait until marriage for sex, and if–IF–they get their girlfriends pregnant, to stick by them and raise their kids. Are we doing that? I don’t know. I’d hope we’d all heard the controversy about the recently cancelled TV show, “All My Baby Mamas,” about a man who fathered something like 11 kids with 10 women. We dodged that bullet, but the fact that the show was greenlit should indicate where many men are at these days.

    Anyway, maybe what we need is a stronger national push for marriage and responsible fatherhood. Where’s the push to tell young men to “man up” and stay with their women, not sleep around, and raise their kids? The President is happily married and raising his two kids. If he won’t compromise on abortion, has any major pro-life organization or faith group at least considered asking him to be an advocate for marriage and fatherhood? Or is there any other major public figure who could set an example on this?

  • Joe Valentine

    Promote specific ways to celebrate life: “proclamation . . . is always more important than denunciation” (John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis 41). We Christians have a feast celebrating conception—the March 25 feast of the Incarnation. Jesus became a human being at the moment of the Incarnation, his moment of conception. We can consider making that event a centerpiece in the celebration of life throughout the year. Coming sixty days or so after the January rallies, bringing this feast more to the fore can represent a second front in the battle for life.

    here are a few examples of possible specific steps that Christian communities can take, in months following the January rallies for life, to keep “the beginning” continually in our minds and hearts as we proclaim the value and beauty of life from the very beginning.
    • Plan ahead to celebrate March 25 as the “banner day” in the celebration of life.
    • Call it by its true name—the feast of the Incarnation—in order to emphasize that Jesus’ life began at that moment.
    • Invite pregnant Mothers to participate in special ways at this cel-ebration; include a special blessing for all pregnant Mothers. Honor the bearers of the lives that have already begun!
    • Periodically from March 25 through Christmas—once a month?—set aside an already scheduled service to include a blessing for pregnant Mothers; celebrate the ongoing unborn lives in the community.
    • As many communities already do to depict other information, occasionally set aside wall space at the entrances for appropriate sonograms of some of the community’s unborn children.
    • Encourage parents to name their children as early as possible and have periodic ceremonies, within ongoing religious services, to announce those names.

    Additional possibilities for such continuing reminders of life already begun are many. None of this is new, except that it is part of Christianity’s “treasury of things old and new.” We oppose the culture of death, but more fundamentally and in specific ways within our communities throughout the year, we can celebrate life at its very beginning.

  • Joanne Engel

    I am guilty of “meme-ing” I have family who are FB friends who do not agree with me, so I am not only “preaching to the choir”. I keep praying for the one article or even phrase that will get them to think about what abortion really is. Sometimes it opens a discussion that involves friends of these people, also. I pray to the Holy Spirit, and then “post” from my heart.

  • Austinne

    Jacob Riis wrote a book called How the Other Half Lives(1889), with lots of photographs illustrating the poverty in New York City. His pictures awakened many complacent wealthy people to the ravages of poverty and because of his photos, there began a movement to alleviate the starvation and other problems in the tenements.

    It may be embarassing around ‘polite society’ but the photography of abortion and unborn children, just like the photographs from the concentration camps, tell a story with images that must be told and do change hearts.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    My personal opinion is that Pat Gohn’s argument won’t make much of a difference. Her argument is essentially that a woman is by nature a mothering creature and therefore an abortion is a violation of her essence.

    Well that argument fails in at least two levels

    (1) The other side isn’t saying that a woman can’t be a mother at some point in her life. They are saying she should choose the moment that is convenient for her to be a mother. She needs to “plan” her parenthood.

    (2) The essence argument is dubious. There are plenty of women around us that are not mothers, that choose not to be mothers, and that are successful in their endeavors while not being mothers. There are plenty of young women who are inspired by such successful women and may choose to follow in their footsteps. A pregnancy would get in the way of such a career path.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not supporting those arguments. I’m giving you the rebuttal.

    In my opinion, if you can’t win on the moral argument that an abortion is the killing of an innocent, powerless, voiceless human being, nothing will convince. And maybe that’s where we are. Perhaps a stalemate is the best we can do. I certainly don’t advocate giving up.

    [Manny, perhaps that is the point. We have so lost track of moral objectivity that those arguments cannot be effective, perhaps, until a more fundamental lesson is taught. How can women understand the intrinsic worth and value of their child if they do not first understand their own intrinsic worth? admin]

  • Manny

    “How can women understand the intrinsic worth and value of their child if they do not first understand their own intrinsic worth? admin”

    I’m not against trying a multi-prong approach. I’m not against trying something new. I just don’t think, and I could be wrong, and would love for me to be wrong, that line of argument convinces.

    But I think you’re not seeing the gains pro-life has made, especially with the younger generation. The debate may not be as stagnant as you think. It’s a generational debate, and it will stretch for years. Obama’s presidency has re-invigorated the pro-abort side. Hopefully the next president will be pro-life and give us the edge.

  • Mary

    I’ve been a reasonably regular reader of this blog for years, and I have always considered myself to be a fan of both your opinions and your way of expressing them. After reading this, I really must say (or I won’t be able to sleep) that I am extremely saddened by this post. You unfriended someone for posting too much pro-life stuff? Seriously? Did you stop to consider just how unkind your action was? Did you consider that you were needlessly hurting someone you could have simply unfollowed? After reading Simcha Fisher’s gentle attack on those who display photos of aborted children and your post—well, I really just am at a loss. While I rarely post pro-life stuff on my Facebook account and never post the photos of the murdered infants, I’m dismayed to see those who post ‘too much’ or share pictures that are ‘too graphic’ attacked. I thought that we’re all on the same team here. We are, aren’t we? Satan and feminists alike found much to be happy about today with these public displays of our lack of unity. I’d like to believe that the Holy Spirit has a hand in guiding all of us when we speak out to defend life, but I guess that belief is just too darn naive.

    [Well, we are on the same team, Mary, but posting 30-45 pro-life memes a night to pro-life people seemed like hectoring to me, and I got annoyed, because I'm human and have never said I was a saint. I didn't find it "cruel" to unfriend, and considering the very constructive conversation she and I had, I don't regret it at all. In fact, the person I "unfriended" was pretty much a stranger to me at that time. Now she is a genuine friend. The Holy Spirit works as he will. -admin]

  • http://Pathos.com wild bill

    One thing I really do not hear from the Pro Life side is the fact that before abortion became legal it was still a very common procedure. For instance here in the Portland area at least in the thrities we had a lady who became quite rich from running an abortion clinic until she was finally shut down because of a change of political leadership. I understand the idea of just making it illegal will stop it. However this isn’t going to change anything. There might be a few less but they will still happen. Of course anyone with money such as corparate bigshot or a prominent political figure who gets a girlfriend or a daughter in a family way and niether party want to even to even half a slim chance of this being brought does anyone not think they wouldn’t think of not finding someone to do an abortion?

  • Bobby

    Wild Bill, does that mean that since people will keep murdering other people despite the laws in place we should rid ourselves of laws against murder? How many would be murderers have been kept from killing others simply because they fear the law more? If abortion was illegal and despite others flaunting that law, huge numbers of babies would not be aborted because of the fear of breaking the law if nothing else.

  • Vinie Thompson

    I think the above article does work. Society has lost the ability to teach women about their bodies celebrating their biological beauty. If one does teach it, you are accused of solely seeing women as reproductive machines.
    I would also like to see a similar approach that touches upon the sexuality of women and exploitation that abortion enables especially of minority women.
    Finally, we need to speak to young men who are the forgotten souls. I remember the pain of young male friend many years ago. He loved a woman who had an abortion against his wishes. He was ready to stand with her and accept responsibility, but she would not carry the child. A light went out in him.

  • Fiestamom

    I know George W. Bush isn’t the most popular person around, but how I wish we had a President who was pro life. :( I think he’s right, people’s hearts have to change. I’ve done a lot of lamenting since November over the power pop culture has over society. But we’re not powerless. It’s up to us to live our lives as courageous Christians, and witness to people that way. The devil keeps trying to tell me that I’m only one person. But look at the examples of the saints, and how many hearts they changed. One of my favorite biographies is Mother Angelica’s. She grew up fatherless and poor. She joined a cloistered order. With no formal education, she started a worldwide Catholic media empire that helped “save” the American Catholic church. How many vocations did she inspire? Those vocations are now hearing confessions, administering last rites, etc. The March for Life on Friday will be filled with young people, who are on fire for the pro life cause, these kids will go out in their communities and change hearts with their enthusiasm and love of Jesus.

  • Dan C

    There are no gains with the younger generation. Pro-life legislation struggles in the most Red of Red states. I agree with Albert Mohler (on likely this one and only posting of his) that we are all Harry Blackmun again on this matter, choosing in the privacy of our hearts and booths something less than we proclaim publically.

    On matters of womanhood: both the right and left have devalued the sex- the left with its libertinism that has left no small army of professional women without suitable partners. The right, well, it does fail to face up to the intrinsic nature of its misogynism. The Church has this issue, and the Republicans are not well-identified outside males. I do think it is fair, and consider it propaganda when conservatives try to paper over the Church’s systematic problems with women. Both sides have their usual problems. Systematic desires to oppress and demean women in its institutions on the right (both Church and politics) and the cultural debasement of women through cheap sex and impermanent relationships on the left.

    Women changing personally still will result in conflict with both of those elements of society and Church.

  • Robert Watson

    Abortion is about MONEY–hundreds of millions and more. Work to cut off the funds–it will stop when the money stops. Legislation which would prevent a doctor from charging for or receiving a fee for doing an abortion will bring a quick end to the practice.

  • http://www.rosaryworkout.com Peggy

    First of all, Pat Gohn is an amazing woman. I have had the honor of meeting her in person, and she is such a lovely voice for authentic feminism.

    Secondly, the way to change hearts and minds is to simply to live life as an authentic Christian and to truly look for the good in all people. I recently starting working part-time in a restaurant, and I was amazed at how many people live empty, hollow lives. I just try to always smile and be cheerful and speak up for others when they are being gossiped about. I act like a lady and am treated like one. I don’t swear and don’t ask others not to (unless they take God’s name in vain, then I just quietly make the sign of the cross and they get the point). I have noticed that my co-workers don’t swear around me like they do with each other and several have said that they need to stop swearing. They began to confide in me and more than one person has stated that he or she wants to go back to church. They ask me questions about my faith and ask me to pray for them. Recently, a young woman told me that her IUD was causing her great pain and that she need to have it removed. I simply suggested that she investigate a natural birth control method called FAM (a secular version of NFP) and she was eager to buy the book I recommended.

    I have grown to truly love these people even though most of them do not share my religious or political views. I pray for them and do what I can to help.

    I’m not tooting my own horn here but just giving examples of how simply being a good Christian and “preaching without words” can slowly change hearts and minds. Every day, I pray that God will use me to bring others closer to Him. I just try to listen to His gentle nudges. Of course I sometimes fail and end up joining in on the gossip or complaining, but like Christ, I try to get back up and shoulder the cross again.

  • Manny

    @Dan C, you said:
    “The right, well, it does fail to face up to the intrinsic nature of its misogynism.”

    What the heck (to put it nicely) are you talking about?

  • dabhidh

    I think that the present stasis of the pro-life movement exists for the same reason George W. Bush was criticized for stating the obvious – we have been so conditioned to expect a legislative, political solution to the problem of abortion that we are flummoxed to be looking at four more years of an entirely pro-abortion President and apparently only rickety opposition from the Republican-controlled House. The knowledge that nothing political or legislative is going to swoop down and save us in the next four years is debilitating, but that’s only because we have bought the lie that political power will solve the problem. People took GWB’s comments as a dereliction of duty – an escape hatch to not pursue a political solution – but in fact he was correct. It’s an abomination that so many support abortion in a day and age when we know so much more about fetal development than in 1973, and I don’t know of anything that has been discovered scientifically that supports the propriety of abortion on demand. That’s why we see all these specious arguments about “personhood” and the like. They wouldn’t be necessary if we as a society were not trying to look biology in the face and lie about it. When there is a will to end abortion, it will end. The job of the pro-life movement is to exhort this will.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/happycatholicbookshelf/ Julie D.

    Responding to the post, not to the comment conversation … I actually see the pro-life movement as vigorous, with the tide turning in its favor. Perhaps it is because I just attended the Dallas march where we had 8,000+ people attend. This is a mere six years after the first one I attended where the organizers were ecstatic because they had so many people (1,000).

    Perhaps it is because I took the tactic this year of issuing personal invitations to people to attend. Too late, as it turns out, for most people’s plans to be changed, but the “when will it be next year?” responses were very heartening.

    Or perhaps it is because Texas has gone from 67 abortion clinics down to 45 in the last couple of years.

    It isn’t over as quickly as we’d like but change is definitely on the horizon. We must just stay the course. It is far from stagnant where I am.

  • Mike Melendez

    I read this and find people all over the place. I think the heart of it is that the effort needs to focus on persuading people in a way that sticks. Those swayed by emotion can be easily swayed in another direction by the same approach. That is problem with simple emotional arguments. They don’t stick. Or to use the pastoral language some above speak so well, they do no take root in the hearts of others.

    I have a Facebook Friend who is deeply entrenched on the Left and posts endless links to left supporting articles, e.g. from dailykos. I have engaged her in argument a couple of times only to find her beliefs skin deep. That is, she couldn’t articulate them. They were right because she held them. She was not amenable to persuading or being persuaded. So I ignore her posts. (I will be investigating turning off someone’s posts without unfriending them.) I suggest to those that have the urge: be very selective and sparse with what you post on a controversial issue. Go for persuasion, not repetition.

  • Michael

    I feel so smart. I made this argument to my sister in law three months ago.

    Actually, I would have to give credit to the Holy Spirit using my poor wit to try to reach this pro abortion NEO NATAL NURSE! ( no joke! She really is!). .

    Thanks for sharing this!

  • Carmen

    The pro-life movement is at a stalemate because it’s missing the most fundamental 3-point argument that is irrefutable. It strips away all emotionalism, feeling, and leaves us with the bare facts. Once these 3 points are explained and put together, the pro-choice movement will have a hell of a time answering them. I’ll post them as soon as I finish putting pen to paper.

  • Karen

    As long as your side of the argument ignores women’s minds inafavor of our uteruses, you will lose. That whole linked article was one gigantic pile of saccharine crap, painting all women as passive twits, without brains or wills, abandoning our agency to the nearest convenient male. Antiabortion activists can’t acknowledge women as competent because then we are E VVCILLL Jezebels, so we get this kind of sappy mush instead. I want the world to acknowledge my mind, not my womb.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Karen, if you want the world to acknowledge your mind, try using.

    If the article is, indeed, “Saccharine crap” as you say, show us where it went wrong. Point out all the ways it’s actually telling women they should just sumbit to the nearest available male. In short, make an actual argument. Don’t just snarl and shout insults—that’s schoolgirl stuff.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    But, then, that is how the Left tends to “Argue”; it shouts, “Shut-up, shut-up, shut-up, what you’re saying is stupid!”

    “I’m the one who thinks correctly, so I’ll tell you what you can say, and what you can’t! And if you dare disagree, I’ll just scream ad hominems!”

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Heh—should have said above, “If you want the world to acknowledge your mind, try using it!”

    I need more coffee.


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