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Winning hearts and minds for the pro-life movement

September 25, 2009
John Bentley MaysThe movement to enshrine legal protection of the unborn "naturally belongs" on the social-democratic left, writes John Bentley Mays in the latest edition of The Catholic Register. The Toronto-based author and journalist is troubled by the "hijacking" of the anti-abortion effort by the political right, who he claims are "losing the battle for hearts and minds in the public forum." Mays, who self-identifies with the left, cites that political ideology's record of effective advocacy for human and civil rights. That the left hasn't included the pro-life cause among them represents a "failure of imagination in the ongoing life and culture of social-democratic dialogue." Read the full article below:
Pro-Life movement hurt by its militant supporters
Friday, 25 September 2009
By John Bentley Mays
The current war by bloggers and voicemailers against Salt + Light Television and its CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica is a symptom that something has gone seriously wrong in the heart of the pro-life movement in Canada and the United States.
The ultra-militants among the right-to-lifers, of course, have many reasons to feel frustrated. They failed to persuade Boston archbishop Cardinal Sean O’Malley to deny U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy a Catholic funeral in full sight of the world. They failed to get Fr. Rosica to hoist himself above the bishops and canon lawyers who gave the green light for the televised funeral service and throw himself into the campaign to denounce them. And their raving and ranting throughout this affair have almost certainly failed to cause a single person to join the struggle for the protection of the unborn.
But the problems of pro-life extremists are hardly limited to the Kennedy funeral. They, and the right-to-life movement as a whole, are losing the battle for hearts and minds in the public forum. In an Angus Reid Strategies poll conducted last year, only one in five Canadians interviewed (19 per cent) said he or she supported restrictions on access to abortion greater than those currently in place, while just five per cent advocated the outright outlawing of abortion altogether. The poll also indicated that the more wealth and education a person had, the more likely would be his or her support for abortion rights as presently constituted in Canadian law. This last finding suggests that the position of the church on abortion is losing ground precisely among people whose minds must be changed if there is to be any progress in those statistics: Canada’s educated elite, the country’s present and future leadership.
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