Under the Glass places both the secular and religious media’s coverage of the Church and other issues of importance under a magnifying glass to uncover what is hidden between the lines.
January 30, 2009

The non-existent pro-life 'alternative'

Pro-Lifers In Obamaland is the title of a Newsweek web exclusive in which the author, Sarah Kliff, asks the question:

"Now that the political climate has changed, will those dedicated to eradicating abortion embrace abortion-reduction strategies instead?"

The answer is no, and Kliff could have saved lots of ink, if she had asked any serious pro-life advocate. But she tries to make the point that there is a "dramatic shift," a new trend of "pro-lifers" who claim that since Roe v Wade the movement has been a failure, and that it is time to get a new approach: join the new administration, headed by the most pro-abortion politician ever to get into the White House, and opt for the "abortion reduction" strategy.

The impression Kliff gives is that such an idea is so massive within the pro-life movement, that it is now facing a true Hamletian moment:

"The election of a pro-choice administration and a Democratic Congress has divided the pro-life movement, between those who are preparing for the fight of their lives and those who see an opportunity to redefine what it means to be pro-life."

And to make the point, Kliff spices up her article with "examples" of this new generation:

Sister Sharon Dillon has been attending the annual March for Life for 20 years. A pro-life activist since high school, the 50-year-old former director of the Franciscan Federation doesn't agree with Roe v. Wade—the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. But as strong as her convictions are, she's also frustrated with the kind of single-minded activism she sees around her: young girls chanting, "hey hey, ho ho, Roe v. Wade has got to go!" "So much time has elapsed since Roe," says Dillon. "I think among veterans, like me, few if any, think the Supreme Court is going to overturn it."

Here is another example:

The future of the movement is a subject that some new pro-life organizations are starting to address, like RealAbortionSolutions.org, a Web site that launched during the 2008 election. They ran advertisements in the Washington Examiner and Washington Post's Express during this year's March for Life, calling on pro-lifers to "ask ourselves what it really means to be pro-life" and "come together on solutions based on results, not rhetoric."

The article mentions these new groups by name: "Catholics United," "Faith in Public Life," "Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good," and "Sojourners," a progressive evangelical group lead by Jim Wallis.

Strangely enough, none of these new pro-life organizations issued statements condemning Obama’s decision to end the Mexico City Policy, a quick move to keep his promise of removing all restrictions to abortion on demand.

James Salt, co-founder of "Catholics United" only explained that reversing the Mexico City Policy was actually not that bad, while Wallis was, according to Newsweek, was involved in discussions with Obama advisors about how the president would announce that executive order:

"Everyone knew it was going to be rescinded," says Wallis. "He was trying to do it quietly, without fanfare. By issuing a statement first, he sent a clear signal that he's not looking to start a fight with people who are pro-life."

In other words, if you are pro-life, you are supposed to be feeling good about the President’s decision and relax, because although abortions will skyrocket in the third world countries, it was nothing personal against you.

Anyone familiar with the pro-life movement knows there is nothing "new" about tackling social issues to reduce abortions. And really, how new is the "newness" of these groups? In this regard, Kliff is either completely new in the field or simply partisan. Just a quick Google search reveals how pro-life these new "pro-lifers" really are.

"Faith in Public Life," is headed by Rev. Jennifer Butler a Presbyterian minister, who happens to be a frequent guest of honor at Planned Parenthood events. Is Planned Parenthood the new pro-life?

James Salt, from "Catholics United," oversaw the Kansas Democratic Party’s faith outreach efforts, including messaging work for Governor Sebelius –yes, the one denied Communion by Archbishop Joseph Nauman for her pro-abortion stand- and development of faith-based messaging resources, according to his bio on Catholics United’s website.

Sister Dillon is the Operations Director for "Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good." The Franciscan Federation she headed has lobbied for decades for several social causes, but NEVER against abortion.

Moreover, "Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good" was co-founded by Alexia Kelley, who forgets to include in her extensive biography that in 2004 she worked as a religion advisor to pro-abortion Catholic Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the closing weeks of his campaign.

More importantly, none of these groups represent a real grassroots membership.

During the latest March for Life their presence would have gone completely unnoticed if it weren’t for the systematic efforts of outlets like the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Newsweek – hardly "the cream of the crop" when it comes to pro-life friendly media- to let people know that, among the 300,000 real pro-lifers, a couple of them were out there.

So, if they don’t bring anything new and they don’t bring numbers, what are these groups really bringing to the pro-life movement? Nothing. Again, Kliff could have saved lots of ink.

Alejandro Bermudez

* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.


Follow us:

Check out Catholic News Agency Polls on LockerDome on LockerDome