Changing hearts and minds about abortion

ProWomanProLife alerts us to an interesting article in the post about efforts from new pro-life groups to change people’s hearts and minds about abortion, rather than seeking legislative change.

Both here and in the United States, new groups are popping up, their ranks made up mainly of young professional women, who say that after years of lobbying from traditional anti-abortion forces, nothing much has changed in terms of the law nor the number of abortions performed. They want to radically shift the conversation from the polarized rut it has been stuck in for years to something more productive.

“Frankly, I’ve never seen much good come from the life issue on the political sphere in my lifetime,” said Andrea Mrozek, who runs Ottawa-based ProWomanProLife. “My approach was to go after cultural change and pull it out of the legislative arena and not even talk about it or discuss it. Politicians will not take this on any time soon.”

Unfortunately, though, the article tries to establish this as some sort of “third way” and pit groups that adhere to more traditional approaches against groups like ProWomanProLife by twisting words:

Established anti-abortion groups don’t believe this middle way is the route to change. They believe in changing the law before public opinion is on side, as in civil rights campaigns.

“Laws don’t change the heart but they restrict the heartless. I think that’s what has to happen,” said Mary Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition, in Kingston.

“The people in the middle are not really seeing the victim,” she added. “If they saw the unborn child as the victim then they couldn’t say … ‘I’ll go this far, but not further.’ “

Mary Ellen is clearly talking about a different “middle” than the author. She is referring to people who are “personally pro-choice,” she’s criticizing the “well, I wouldn’t choose abortion, but I couldn’t force someone else to have a baby…” argument. She is not criticizing Signal Hill or ProWomanProLife as the “people in the middle.”

It’s true that the approaches are different in terms of whether or not there’s a legislative effort, but I think the tension between these various pro-life groups is exagerrated here. These are different, but potentially complimentary strategies. As Andrea Mrozek says, “I’m hopeful with all these groups working hard, even including those who want to change the law, that we’ll see some change.”

Anyways, the first half of the article is great, but don’t let the author fool you into believing the new pro-life groups are somehow working against the old ones. I’m less familiar with some of the other groups, but that blatant word-twist makes me suspicious of some exaggeration and bending the truth for the sake of drama.

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