Twenty-five years ago this Jan. 22, the Supreme Court decided to legalize abortion. And the issue has not rested since. While no official figure will or can ever be assigned, Focus on the Family magazine (January 1998) estimates that 35 million abortions have been performed since the decision.
Violent protests and battles on abortion clinic lawns were frequent headlines in years past. Recently, the pro-life movement doesn’t seem to be in the news as often. What has happened to the movement?
“It has certainly slowed down,” said retired Col. William S. Lawton, Jr. “[At the beginning,] it was very dynamic. A lot of young ones were very idealistic.”
Lawton, a long-time pro-life supporter and pro-life coordinator for a local parish, observed that the movement began to lose its aggressive edge with the pro-abortionists “…getting the law on their side and using it against us.”
Jeff White, California State Director for Operation Rescue, also feels that the pro-life movement has dropped out of the spotlight, and feels that churches need to involve themselves more actively in the movement.
“This is an embattled movement,” he explained. “The Church often ignores the plight of the unborn and their neighbors. They don’t know what to do — they will lose members if they get involved.”
Lawton expressed similar dissatisfaction, adding, “We need leadership from our religious leadership. They aren’t doing as much as they should.” However, he did mention St. Marks in San Marcos as one church where the leader “…is doing what the leaders should do.”
The pro-life movement has certainly not abandoned the sidewalks in front of abortion clinics, but has explored new avenues with which to spread their message.
A national postcard campaign, sponsored by all the Catholic parishes, will happen the weekend of Jan. 24 in an effort to prompt an overturn of the President’s veto of the “Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.
Operation Rescue employs many different programs in its effort, one of which is entitled “Back to School.” This program is a sub-specialty of “Show the Truth” and is designed to reach high school students.
“Some say this is great, some come out and sing pro-choice songs but we have saved babies, “said White. “We have had conversions…some come up screaming at us and end up praying.” According to White, they have handed out hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature in their effort to educate youth.
White also acknowledged the differences, and expressed a desire to “…create a gap between pro-life and those in the grey area,” expressing a desire to “hold up God’s standard, not ours.”