Eye on Culture Column: Pro-lifers march on

Father Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, always reminds my radio listeners and me that you can’t suppress truth. Eventually, it will be revealed. It’s certainly affirming when the truth about abortion is exposed by the most unexpected voices and in some of the most unexpected places: abortion activists and the secular media. 

A friend sent me a column from the April 26 edition of Newsweek magazine. The purpose of the piece was to emphasize how abortion activists are losing ground in the public square. Writer Sarah Kliff interviewed Nancy Keenan, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, the country’s oldest abortion advocacy group. Keenan, the columnist explained, had actually “grown fearful about the future of her movement even before the health care debate.” 

Kliff described how Keenan’s fears were confirmed when her train pulled into Washington, D.C., on the same day of the massive 2010 March for Life. Kliff even mentioned the number of participants, accurately reflecting the figure released by March for Life organizers — upward of 400,000. She explains how the Jan. 22 scene unfolding before Keenan was shocking to the NARAL leader. 

“I just thought, my gosh, they are so young. There are so many of them, and they are so young,” Keenan said. 

It seems so obvious to us. Of course there would be so many young pro-lifers. But Keenan and other pro-choice activists like her have convinced themselves that we don’t exist. Not surprising since most of the major news media has conducted a news blackout on the March for Life since it began. When the abortion issue is covered, the many legal, medical and psychological issues connected to abortion are ignored. 

Kliff’s article is at least direct enough to fess up about the lack of honest moral discussion on the part of those backing so-called reproductive freedom. Although she doesn’t get specific, you get the sense that she understands that the dam, which has been fairly successful in containing all those lies, is just about to break. 

Just as it was with Keenan who came face to face with the truth about the sheer number of young pro-lifers, other truths about abortion spout forth. Whether it’s women and men boldly sharing their post-abortion stories, or studies, more than two dozen now, showing a connection between abortion and the increased risk of breast cancer, the other side doesn’t have enough hands on deck to stop all those leaks.  

Kliff writes that pro-choice activists have not gone down the path of open discussion, because they view it as a “slippery slope toward their own defeat.” She adds that Keenan is so concerned about the impact of pro-lifers that she is now willing to take a more “nuanced” approach to abortion. Keenan also said her side must start addressing the “moral complexity” of the debate. But so far, it appears Keenan’s attempts aren’t making an impact. 

“[W]hen the political fight over abortion raged on the Hill this year, no one was talking about moral complexity. The key slogan for abortion-rights activists was both simple and inscrutable: STOP STUPAK. In the long run, if Keenan and her allies can’t find a better way to connect with the next generation, they may find themselves much like the congressman himself — sidelined,” Kliff concluded. 

I never thought I would be publicly thanking Newsweek magazine. But in this case, I think a thank-you is in order. Whether the publication and their writer realize it, they gave the pro-life movement a very nice shot in the arm. 

Teresa Tomeo is the host of Catholic Connection, produced by Ave Maria Radio and heard daily on EWTN Global Catholic Radio and Sirius Channel 160.