I'm sure as fellow pro-lifers you can empathize with that. Here we are, trying to stop people from killing babies, and somehow we are treated as horrible people. With a vast majority of the media on one side, all they have to do is quote any pro-life advocate that misspeaks, or when a stupid person who happens to be pro-life... well speaks. This is why it is incredibly important for us to really focus on messaging, because there are millions of lives that count on us communicating our message well.
So I propose a two piece plan. First of all, we need to associate ourselves with a historical movement which was not only successful, but recognized as a good thing by the general public, as well as one that we have a legitimate association with. And lo and behold this isn't that difficult: slavery.
So similarities between Pro-Life and Abolitionism:
- Both have to do with human rights. At the end of the day, that is all that we are fighting for: that the rights of a particular group of humans is recognized and respected. And not just the right to speak or anything like that, but the right to be treated as human beings.
- Both have to confront dehumanization. I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not think that being Pro-Choice is anything like being Pro-Slavery. Abortion and slavery are very different institutions, and thus the defences for them are very different. That said, since both abolition and Pro-life are based on recognizing a group's humanity, opposition to us must include why that group isn't fully human. This means that we can look to how such dehumanization was combated in the 19th century, and see if any of it is translatable. And of course maintain the campaign of showing people how these children really are children through pictures and other such means.
- Both are religiously motivated. I am not ashamed of this, but it is important to point out how religion plays a role in this debate. It is because the issue which really divides the two sides is whether or not an unborn child is human, and defining what a human is outside of religious circles is difficult. Indeed, the very notion of human rights was founded by religious circles, and it is questionable whether the concept can really survive when societies shift to secularism. But philosophy aside, when we are accused about being overly religious, we can look back and point out how important religion was to the abolitionists.
- Both are driven by an uncompromising ethic. It is as difficult to compromise on the killing of children as it is to compromise on men, women, and children living in chains. Which means that we should be the first who are appalled by sex-trafficking, bigotry, and all denials of humanity that exist around the world. Don't let the liberals own those issues. Those should be our issues.
- Both are movements championed by the Republican Party. Just saying.
Right now the Pro-Choice movement gets a lot of distance by connecting itself to the feminist movement. We really should be using the same kind of rhetoric since we are really grounded in the same tradition as the abolitionists. So let us celebrate that heritage and proclaim it.
The second piece of the plan is to stay on message. We are about human rights. The unborn child has rights. That's it. Any objection, and I mean "any", can and should be answered from that basic viewpoint.
PC: What about in the case of rape?
PL: Does that justify killing the offspring?
PC: What if the mother's life were in danger?
PL: Yes, she also has the right to life. We don't ignore the women, and therefore there is not simple answer, but such a question should recognize that both lives are equally precious.
PC: It is the woman's body?Just this simple rule would prevent us from saying anything dumb. Nothing more needs to be said. The argument stands for itself. If the conversation shifts to why is the child human, than that is exactly where we want it to go! Focus all of our energy on that one point. The Pro-Life movement stands or falls on that point. Therefore let it!
PL: There are two person's bodies in question here. Both should be respected