As somebody that grew up in the 80’s and say the pro-life movement just 10-15 years beyond Roe vs. Wade, it’s easy to see how politicians and other figures wanted to keep their distance. The sane voices in the movement were drowned out by those who picketed abortion clinics, holding up signs with photos of aborted fetuses and sometimes yelling and screaming at women entering those facilities in an attempt to shame them into changing their minds.
There incidents of violence, including bombings of abortion clinics and violence against doctors who performed abortion including Dr. George Tiller, who was murdered because Tiller performed late-term abortions.
Over time, however, that changed. The pro-life movement continued to grow, but the anger was replaced with compassion. Abortion clinic protest groups were replaced by organizations that counseled women on other choices they could make aside from termination. Pro-life advocates realized that changing the culture was the more efficient way to deal with the issue than just relying on the law. Changing hearts and minds became a critical element in the movement.
Senator Ben Sasse gets this entirely. He shared some thoughts following the March For Life and here is what he said:
The pro-life movement isn’t just about legislative activism: it’s about persuasion and persuasion means speaking with civility and compassion. This is a movement dedicated to speaking the truth in love to care for babies and their moms.
And if we forget this, if we make power and political biceps—rather than love—the sum, center, and guiding principle of our cultural debates, we will ultimately lose our cheerful fight.
Thanks for standing for life. Thanks for marching. Thanks for speaking up. Together, let’s rededicate ourselves to make the investment, to love our neighbor, and to do our part to protect life.
Remember, Sasse is talking about attitude. The pro-life movement still has to better make their case in the face of, “Oh and what do you propose happens after that baby is born?” retorts from people who think abortion is a solution to poverty. It isn’t, but many women who get abortions are poor. The pro-life movement needs to expand in ways that help these young women transition to motherhood. It will take work, but it can be done.
Sasse also shot a quick video that is worth watching:
Time to get to work.