Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Stability of Abortion Attitudes and What do to About Them

If pro-lifers are to change attitudes, they have to expand their field of action.

A lot of pro-lifers operate on the premise that pro-life activism consists principally of protesting, debating and showing the reality of abortion.

These are all important things. But by themselves they will not change the public's attitude towards abortion.

What changes attitude is cultural depth. Opposition to abortion in Canada is a mile wide and an inch deep. There are plenty of people who oppose abortion. In fact I'd say that the majority of Canadians don't like abortion.

But they don't support fetal rights.

Now it's true that many Canadians have not been shown what abortion is, or explained why abortion should be opposed.

But as counter-intuitive as it is, most people will not be convinced by reading a pamphlet or having someone present the arguments logically.

What needs to happen is for pro-life Canadians to develop intellectual and cultural infrastructure that supports fetal rights.

What am I talking about?

Let's take an intellectual infrastructure.

Outside of a newspaper piece on abortion, when do people ever hear a pro-life perspective about abortion? Just about never.

There are virtually no Canadian historians writing about the history of the unborn child, or pro-life sociologists talking about the dynamics of crisis pregnancy (from a pro-life slant) or economists explaining what economic situations lead to abortion.

There are no panels, conferences, studies, etc addressing these kinds of academic points.

How do you expect to be taken seriously if your point of view doesn't have any clout in academia?

Now it's true that average people don't read this stuff, but opinion makers do. When, outside of the abortion debate, they read about the humanity of the unborn child, they are far more likely to consider it than if they feel women are being judged for their choices.

Or let's take cultural infrastructure.

There have been a few pro-life movies in recent years. But it's not enough. We need pro-life artists of every type to create cultural products that convey our worldview.

People are far more likely to consider a pro-life perspective if they're not hit over the head with it during an argument or during a GAP display (much as I favour these!) because while those of us in the pro-life movement tend to be high-minded and logical, most people don't operate like that.
They only consider an alternate position if it's done askance and without implicit judgement.

Perhaps the pro-life movement would do well to consider how to expand its reach. We have to think beyond pamphlets, protests, arguments and events.  We need clout. Because clout persuades, and it's one thing that makes people take our opinion more seriously.