Talking the pro-life talk

Published on December 5th, 2012

by Kathleen M. Gallagher

The post-election suggestion by some in the Republican Party that the GOP pro-life plank be dropped from the platform is more than misguided…it’s just plain wrong.  All pro-life politicians, whether Republican or Democrat, need to stay the course; to continue to walk the pro-life walk. Their votes are critical to changing policies and saving lives.

But just as critical is “talking the pro-life talk,” and on that, politicians could learn to be more effective. Public opinion polls continue to show that Americans are trending more and more pro-life, and that a good number stand somewhere in the mushy middle on abortion. Here’s how to appeal to them:

  • Say what you’re for, not what you’re against. You are for life, for maternal health, for the protection of children, for the ethical integrity of medicine, for parental rights, for families…need I go on?
  • Strive for balance and reason. Abortion is out of control in our society and common- sense regulations will help rein it back in. Large majorities of the public will agree with you when you advocate for parental notification, informed consent, limits on late-term abortion and taxpayer funding of the procedure.
  • Show how you are trying to reduce the tragedy.  Abortion is not good for women, children or families. Government should be working to reduce the pain, heartache and long-term repercussions.
  • Accept incremental advances. Rape is also a tragedy, a horrific wound on an innocent woman. She deserves compassionate care in order to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Abortion compounds her wounds with yet another injury. But there’s a difference between what you think of abortion in the case of rape, and what realistically can be achieved through public policy changes. Outlawing (or eliminating funding of) abortion with exceptions for cases of reported rape, incest and life of the mother would outlaw (or eliminate funding of) 98% of all abortions. While this falls short of the Church’s teaching regarding the sacredness and dignity of every human life, nevertheless, it is still a giant step in the right direction.
  • Support and highlight policies that provide real choices to pregnant women like prenatal care, family and medical leave, quality child care, parenting education, adoption subsidies and the like. Empower women and enable them to bear their children and raise their families with dignity.

It’s not rocket science. It’s a simple reframing of the message.

Effectively talking the pro-life talk is vital. It will persuade others to do so, help build consensus, change hearts and minds, and ultimately shape the future of our culture.

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One Response to “Talking the pro-life talk”

The media clamor for Republicans to abandon — or at least modify — their pro-life position. To do that would not only be wrong, it would not only be a betrayal of our honorable tradition, but it would be politically stupid. Since, in politics, perception is reality, waffling would be perceived as abandonment. The Republican Party cannot afford to make the mistake President George Bush made when he reneged on his 1988 campaign promise (“Read my lips — no new taxes”). More importantly, the pro-life constituency has been a major, even decisive, factor in the unprecedented growth of the Republican Party in the 1980s and 1990s. Dozens of Republicans in Congress were elected only because they were steadfast in their pro-life position.

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