Moderate rhetoric means greater influence

[Today’s guest post by Roger McCormack is part of our paid blogging program.]
Those
who defend the rights of the unborn are habitually caricatured as zealous,
religious nuts, and/or gross chauvinists with deep-seated issues regarding their
mothers, much to the chagrin of thoughtful defenders of the vulnerable. A modest step for the pro-life movement might
be found in taking a discerning look into how we cultivate our allies. First, we must understand how the opposition
views us. A perfect example can be found
in this
article
in the liberal publication Salon, in which author Jill Filipovic
makes the following claim:

While
radical positions are being mainstreamed, some of the more extreme activists
who have spent years hearing that abortion providers are Nazis but the U.S. government
won’t do anything about it decide to take the next logical step and bomb a
clinic or kill a doctor. The mainstream antiabortion organizations shake their
heads in disapproval. Then they support the grass roots in rallying their
extremist troops all over again.

Filipovic’s
borderline ad hominem argument does not address the core issue—the morality of
abortion—but it certainly gives motivation to those who are already inclined to
favor the abortion rights cause. “Just
look at these religious zealots comparing abortion to the Nazi regime! How
could anyone but a cave-dweller support a position that prevents women from
exercising their unalienable right to an abortion?”
A thoughtful pro-life movement, founded on empiricism and
devoid of unnecessary assumptions that many will find unsatisfying and
unappealing, is the first step in shifting public opinion to reflect the
discontent and inherent wrongness abortion presents. The facts of what abortion does to human
beings in the womb are persuasive on their own; bringing Hitler into it does
not add to the argument.
An effective pro-life movement must promote thoughtful arguments
divorced from more abstract claims. The
ability to petition politically for candidates who do not advocate an
uber-capitalist laissez-faire version of social Darwinism would further bolster
the self-evident logic of the pro-life argument. The late British journalist
Christopher Hitchens (himself an atheist and pro-lifer) diagnosed the rodent gnawing
at the heart of the anti-abortion movement: “Quite a few pro-life activists
revere the fetus second only to the way in which they cherish the Confederate
flag.” If even a small but vocal
minority holds that mentality, it is pernicious to an influential pro-life
movement.

The pro-choice movement is no doubt susceptible to
exaggerated and extremist rhetoric of its own, as was demonstrated by the pseudo-Satanist
chants of Wendy Davis’ supporters in Texas. However, the perceived notion of pro-lifers’ supposed dogmatic
principles is viewed in the media as a greater threat. Therefore, the tangible fear
of a patriarchal revival, although a generally mistaken view, precludes an
honest and forthright debate. So, instead of letting the loudest and rudest
voices prevail, a modest step for the pro-life movement would seek a
cultivation of solidarity with judicious secular elements who doubt the wisdom,
brutality, and diminishing returns of Roe
v. Wade

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