SOCIETY: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
New strategies for winning the abortion wars
, April 14, 2012
There are many things pro-lifers can do to help stem the tide of our abortion holocaust. Many creative ideas have already been utilised, and we can always use some more.
Just as various means and methods were employed by the abolitionists to help turn the tide of public opinion on slavery, so too here we need to use every available strategy and option possible.
One important component in all this is dispelling the myth that the mother is simply carrying a blob of tissues or a clump of cells. If most women actually knew about the developing new life in their womb, they might have a rethink about killing the baby.
Thus different tactics are being used in various places to help ensure that women are really given all their choices, and in fact have real informed consent. In the United States, there are now a number of states which have passed ultrasound laws. These laws compel women seeking an abortion to first look at an ultrasound of the baby in their own womb.
Virginia has been the latest state to pass such a law. One article discusses this as follows: “Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor at Thomas Road Baptist Church [Lynchburg, Virginia], applauds a new Virginia law that requires pregnant women to view an abdominal ultrasound image of their unborn baby before undergoing an abortion procedure.”
He said this: “Yesterday, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell signed into law a state bill that would require pregnant women to view an abdominal ultrasound image of their unborn baby before undergoing an abortion procedure.
“The purpose of the bill is information, giving women the ability to have a firsthand look at the foetal image of their baby before making such a fateful decision.
“I believe this is important legislation because some women, once they see the image of the baby in their womb, will choose to give the baby life. And that is always a cause for celebration.
“This bill (HB 462) notes that ‘at its heart’ is ‘a woman’s right to know medically relevant information before making a life-altering decision’.
“Advocates for the statute say the ultrasound image gives a woman the ‘right to know’ about her unborn child’s development.
“Medical technology gives us a wonderful ability to illustrate to women the life that is growing within them, and I believe this bill wisely compels them to have an understanding of that life. I think it truly should be the right of women to have a keen awareness of their baby’s physicality before making such a critical, life-altering decision.” (Christian NewsWire, March 8, 2012).
Conservative American commentator Cal Thomas also comments on this development. He says: “The debate in Virginia and elsewhere over ultrasound legislation should include the voices of women who favour ultrasound laws.
“The media speak of ‘women’ as a monolithic group who consistently subscribe to the liberal-secular line. But there are many women — I have met a few — whose voices are rarely, if ever, heard. These women either decided to give birth after seeing an ultrasound image, or regretted having had an abortion and would testify that if they had seen an ultrasound image before the procedure they would have made a different choice. Does not seeing an ultrasound image change the reality of abortion?
“There are several websites featuring testimonies from some of these pro-ultrasound women. One is: www.projectultrasound.org/testimonies.html.
“Why would anyone want to deprive women of the joy they experience after seeing a picture of their baby and deciding to preserve their baby’s life? Why would anyone not want to protect these women from the pain many have experienced from not seeing a picture and going forward with the abortion, only to later regret it?” (Townhall.com, March 6, 2012).
The team from Save the Storks in front of a Stork van.
A very similar sort of action which is proving to be really effective is a small pro-life group in Texas led by 23-year-old David Pomerantz. He brings the ultrasound to where the action is at: just outside an abortion clinic. His van has all that is needed for women to see what they are really aborting.
One write-up about this story says this: “He hails from Philadelphia, but he was attending Word of Life, a two-year Bible institute in New York, when he met Chris Slattery and Julie Beyel of EMC (Expectant Mother Care), a Manhattan pregnancy resource centre. He was astonished to find that EMC had formulated a ‘new model’ for approaching women outside abortion clinics.
“EMC had a bus equipped with a sonogram machine. By approaching women outside the clinic with the offer of free help, with no mention of a pro-life ideology, they were able to see a staggering success rate. In fact, by their estimate, about 70% of women who got on the bus for a sonogram decided not to abort.
“In one day, they saw nine women decide on life for their children.
“They did some simple maths, and realised that if this success continued, 15 to 25 women a week, or about 800 a year, would choose life.
“Excited by the possibilities inherent in this new approach, Dave contacted his friend and mentor Joe Baker, who flew in from Philly to see the results firsthand. Equally impressed, the two began to ferment the idea that would become Save the Storks.
“Dave was already planning on attending Southwestern Theological Seminary in Dallas, so he headed down south. With Joe Baker developing the art and marketing, and the generous help of Dallas-based organisation Get Involved for Life and other private donors to bring to life a sleeker, smaller, more mobile ultrasound vehicle, they were off and running.
“Save the Storks was born. Or, if you prefer, flown in through the window. ‘We don’t want to intimidate anyone. We don’t want to force anyone. We just want to serve’.”
The article continues: “The Save the Storks bus is slick, recognisable, welcoming and — horror of horrors — it sits in between a mother and the abortion clinic doors. With a simple offer of no-strings-attached help — ‘Would you like a free ultrasound?’ — and a bright, comforting image, it appeals to the desperate woman before she reaches the clinic.
“She is not confronted. She is offered help. And while I firmly believe that virtually all sidewalk counsellors and activists outside clinics are there for no other reason than to help women, the Storks are able to present help first. That is the key. The average clinic sidewalk approach is, of necessity, ‘Please don’t kill your baby. Here’s why. And here’s help.’
“Because they have their awesome bus, Save the Storks are able to say, ‘Here’s help. Now please don’t kill your baby. Here’s why.’
“Because they don’t have to lead with agenda, there are no warning bells for a desperate and defensive mother. There is only a friendly face.
“This new model will absolutely revolutionise the front lines of pro-life activism.
“What is the battle cry of the pro-abortion movement? ‘Choice!’ It is their mantra. What do you constantly hear from abortion advocates? ‘These desperate women feel like they are out of options.’
“Right here, on four wheels, parked in front of the clinic, is another choice — one they might not even know they have. Inside that bus is an image of their baby waiting to be seen. Connected to that bus is a support system — in short, options.
“Dave and the team have high hopes, and they should. The approach is breathtakingly simple and, if early tests are any indication, profoundly effective.” (Live Action News, March 1, 2012).
Now that is a creative and winsome approach. I am not saying it is the only one, nor am I saying it should replace previous methods. It is just one more helpful idea and tactic in the fight for life. And it seems to be working. May its tent increase.
Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lectures on ethics and philosophy. His website CultureWatch is at: www.billmuehlenberg.com
Mike Tilley, “Jonathan Falwell applauds new Virginia law”, Christian NewsWire (Washington DC), March 8, 2012.
Cal Thomas, “Ultrasound, ultra-truth”, Townhall.com (United States), March 6, 2012.
Kristen Walker, “How some kids with a van are changing the pro-life movement”, Live Action News (San José, California), March 1, 2012.