By Carol Tobias, President, National Right to Life
Editor’s note. This appeared on page 3 of the August edition of National Right to Life News. You can read the issue in its entirety at www.nrlc.org/uploads/NRLNews/NRLNewsAugust2014.pdf.
It’s amazing how fast this summer has gone. As you read this, many schools are already back in session and the often-hectic fall schedule will pick up. Add to that the fact that the general elections are less than 100 days away and some days may really get crazy.
If we want to protect unborn babies and their mothers by making abortion illegal, we need to change the laws; we do that by electing pro-life candidates. And as we come closer to that day of protecting unborn children, the battle is going to be fierce.
Think back to the fight in Texas last summer to see just how far abortionists will go to try to stop pro-life victories. If you think those supporting the abortion industry are rude and militant now, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
For those who have been active in the right-to-life movement, you know it won’t be easy. You know that some of our opponents can be downright mean. They don’t care that an innocent baby is being killed, so why would they care if they hurt someone’s feelings? They march, and they shout, and they lie. Many of them are bullies whose first instinct is to try to win by intimidation.
Pro-lifers, on the other hand, respect life, which, of course, includes the lives of those we disagree with. We’re nice and polite and, on occasion, timid. We take to heart the admonition from Colossians 3, “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
I know pro-lifers who are so kind and compassionate and gentle that they are afraid to speak up because they don’t want to offend anyone. Certainly, we don’t intentionally offend or hurt anyone. We don’t want to cause arguments or fights and we would not purposefully upset our friends or family or neighbors.
But we have the truth and an obligation to share it. We need to take to heart the encouraging words from Joshua 1, “Be strong and courageous.” We need to have the courage to stand up for those whose lives are being threatened. We need to be a voice for the voiceless.
Much of this will play out during the election season. Voters can expect to hear exaggerated claims, or even outright lies, about a pro-life candidate’s position. Right-to-Life people may be harassed for working for those candidates. There are some who would say they are pro-life but they don’t want you to mix pro-life issues and politics, or what they might call religion and politics.
Protecting unborn children from abortion is the greatest civil rights battle of our time and should impact every aspect of society, including the election of men and women who make the laws under which we live.
I recently heard Burke Balch, NRLC’s Director of Medical Ethics, give a speech in which he reminded us of the famous Thomas Paine quote, “These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
These next few months are not for the summer soldier and sunshine patriot; the faint of heart who want to fight only the easy battles. We need to be strong and courageous so we can elect or re-elect pro-life candidates at every level of government.
I had the privilege of testifying on July 15 before the Senate Judiciary Committee n the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S. 1696). This bill would more properly be called the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth Act.” It would invalidate nearly all state and federal laws that affect abortion in any way. For example, it would nullify limits on abortions after 20 weeks – past the point at which unborn children can experience pain, and laws limiting abortion even after viability, unless they allow each abortionist to abort based on his assertion that an abortion will preserve emotional “health.”
That is just the beginning. Other laws the bill would nullify include protecting individuals or private medical institutions from being forced to participate in abortion; prohibiting the aborting of an unborn child because of the child’s sex; requiring that information on alternatives to, and risks of, abortion be provided to women seeking abortions; and waiting periods after this information is provided so the woman has time to reflect on her decision.
During my oral testimony, I challenged the bill sponsor, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and the Democratic leadership, to bring this bill to the floor for a vote, as well as the NRLC-backed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (S. 1670), so that we could see where each senator stands on both of these bills.
However, the Democratic leadership is unlikely to allow votes this year on these bills, even on the pro-abortion bill, because they know the bill is so sweeping that such a vote would hurt many pro-abortion candidates in the elections. So it is up to us to make sure that our fellow pro-lifers know where the senators stand on this legislation and on other Life issues, especially those who are on the ballot this fall.
What can you do? Distribute comparison pieces with information about where the candidates stand on Life issues. Senate races, and some competitive U.S. House races will be on the NRL PAC website at www.nrlpac.org. (Many pro-life people will gladly vote for pro-life candidates, but they may not have that information unless we get it to them.) Recruit other pro-lifers to help with your local election activities. If your U.S. Senate and House candidates have not taken positions yet on the so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” (S. 1696/ H.R. 3471), find people in the state or district to publicly challenge each candidate to state a position. Contribute to the National Right to Life Victory Fund so we can mail flyers, make get-out-the-vote phone calls and place media ads.
In this all-important election season, be gentle and kind, but be strong and courageous. A voiceless, innocent unborn child is counting on you.