The long game isn’t enough; time to scale up our tactics
This article first appeared in Defend Life (Nov-Dec 2017 issue)
Red Rose Rescuer arrested by police December 2nd in Alexandria, VA for refusing to stop counseling abortion minded women inside killing center
Two historical accounts of the Holocaust, including The Pope’s Jews by Gordon Thomas, are sitting on my nightstand, bookmarks protruding from their dense middles. They are great reminders that liberation from evil doesn’t happen without great cost. (Calvary is the utmost example, of course.) Abortion is so heinous yet so mainstream: Do we imagine it can be stopped by methods that don’t cost us much? Except for the work of pregnancy resource centers, I’m concerned that the pro-life movement’s efforts aren’t costly enough.
Sure, we march, but not under the blast of fire hoses. If legislatures kill our bills, we don’t face dismemberment. We easily busy ourselves without having a personal stake in ending abortion.
“But look at all the progress we’ve made.” Actually, it’s hard to pin down the cause of the slight downturn in the abortion rate, but it’s almost certainly due equally to demographics—the more abortion vulnerable communities not replenishing their populations—as to prolife victories. And with unreported chemical abortions replacing a percentage of surgical abortions, substantiating any reduction in the abortion rate is problematic.
Still, we shouldn’t abandon the long game: March, legislate, lecture, write, sell t-shirts, click “Send.” Each child saved is worth celebrating. But remember that a 20-week ban (passed with life-of-mother/ rape/incest exceptions by the House of Representatives in October but not taken up by the Senate at the time of the writing of this article) would prevent a mere 3 of every 200 abortions.
It’s time to be honest: The long game isn’t enough. The American abortion industry, in power now four times longer than Hitler was, still exterminates one million children every year. Each child lost is a catastrophe. Nothing we’re currently doing gives concrete hope for radical changes anytime soon. Here’s my point: Pro-lifers must rediscover the courage shown by the underground networks, families, and individuals who hid Jewish people from the Nazis, an illegal enterprise punishable by death. We should be inspired by maneuvers that flouted Nazi laws, such as the issuing of phony baptismal certificates to Jewish children, gaining them passage to a safe country.
Let it be said, though, that we absolutely renounce all forms of violence. Even though our laws sanction tearing children to pieces, our resistance must be nonviolent. But we cannot exclude tactics that disregard some juridical boundaries. Is that going too far? Well, again, was hiding Jewish people going too far? So, what is the pro-life equivalent of hiding Jews? Well, it’s been happening in isolated pockets, but now is the time to scale up.
Consider this an invitation: Church and organizational leaders should come together to work out a new, expanded agenda, inspired by what Pius XII and Vatican officials did in Rome and the entire village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon did in southern France. The whole body of Christ must make protecting the innocent a 24/7 endeavor—a matter of life and death to us.
Now, you don’t have to “cross the line” to act in ways that are costly. For example, Christians have more than enough money to park a mobile sonogram vehicle outside every abortion center in the United States. That costs serious money, but what are we throwing our money away on, or grasping it tightly for, instead? Get your church’s missions committee on board.
And there are plenty of us to maintain a regular and noticeable witness outside every abortion center. Some of us can also walk in, with gifts to offer, resource information to share, and a loving invitation to talk outside. That will cost time, but doesn’t a joyful eternity await the faithful?
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org