The Culture of Life Foundation has begun an expansion of its pro-life educational mission, now targeting the average layman and the common voter in addition to its outreach to academics and policymakers. As part of its new efforts, the foundation has launched a new “e-briefs” program to inform people about life issues in accessible language.
The foundation was founded in 1997 with the blessing of Pope John Paul II and follows his desire to combat the “culture of death” with more involvement from the laity. For many years, its primary purpose was to educate policymakers on life issues.
In recent years the foundation has helped study stem cell research, informing policymakers that embryonic stem cell research is not possible without the destruction of human life. According to Culture of Life Foundation executive director Jennifer Kimball, this work helped influence President George W. Bush’s call for the creation of alternate sources of stem cells and increased awareness about the ethical issues involved in the research.
Kimball, who holds a licentiate from the Athenaeum Pontificium Regina Apostolorum in Rome, was appointed executive director of the foundation in November, 2007.
She described the expansion of the Culture of Life Foundation’s mission as focusing on both academic debate and the furthering of understanding of life issues among the laity. Now that policymakers’ understanding of bioethical issues has matured, Kimball explained, the foundation must turn its educational efforts to common voters, where advances are made by “changing minds and hearts.”
The foundation plans on accomplishing this by means of “e-briefs,” which examine bioethical questions in language accessible to laymen. The bi-weekly briefs address what Kimball called “four pillar areas” of concern: life, human sexuality, family, and bioethics.
“We’ve got to take these issues to the public,” Kimball said, according to the Population Research Institute. “It’s not enough to only inform policy-makers, and in order to reach the public we have to use modes such as radio, television, email, public conferences, public events, small networks, and ultimately reach the people in the pews.”
Speaking in an interview with CNA, Kimball commented on the present state of the pro-life movement and listed the pro-life issues she believes will be significant in the near future.
She predicted that the pro-life movement will need to help protect a physician’s right to conscientiously object to performing an abortion, which she said included the right to object to prescribing abortifacient medications.
The general nature of medicine itself is also a looming issue for pro-life advocates, Kimball argued. “Medicine is losing its role of providing therapy. The medical act is now about providing options or enhancements, not care.”
When asked to comment on the state of the pro-life movement in the United States, she said its condition is “one of renewal and one of new initiatives.”
“I think there’s a lot of hope in the pro-life movement now,” she told CNA. "We’re seeing some new organizations pop up and other foundations sponsoring new programs that haven’t been there before.”
She said the contemporary position of the pro-life movement greatly differs from thirty years ago. What she called the “Henry Hyde generation” knew what it meant to have an abortion and could focus on that single issue.
Now, Kimball explained, the pro-life movement “has so much more on our plate. We must articulate what human life is.”
“That’s quite a chore, but we’re tackling it.”
The Culture of Life Foundation website is located at http://www.culture-of-life.org