Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Part 1 of A Brief History of the (American) ProLife Movement

We so need this.

Canadian pro-lifers, we need this,too.

We need to get all the "old-timers" to write their memoirs.

I'm looking at you, Jim Hughes.

If pro-lifers don't know their own past, they will make the mistakes of the past.

In lieu of my reminiscences...

Although I have been pro-life since that age of 15, A lot of my "participation" in the pro-life movement was vicarious. Mostly watching what happened on television.

I didn't do a whole lot because there wasn't a lot of opportunity to do anything.

And I know that was the case with a lot of pro-lifers.

There was a lot of isolated individuals, a lot of atomized support.

Some of that was due to the stigmatization of the pro-life cause during the 80s and 90s. A stigmatization that we still feel today.

Pro-lifers were characterized as crazy fanatics, as old-fashioned, out-dated, and violent.

Before the internet, it was extremely easy for pro-lifers to suffer from the over-generalization of the biased, leftist media.

James Kopp (an American!) shoots up several abortionists, and Canadian pro-lifers get tarred as violent. Grossly unfair, but it served the greater pro-abortion narrative, so nobody ever challenged that assumption especially in Quebec, where I'm from, where there's little right-wing thought, let alone right-wing media, to begin with.

As a result, people did not want to be associated with the pro-life movement, and so it remained dormant in large areas of Canada, notably Quebec.

The Internet was a Godsend to the pro-life movement. I cannot emphasize that enough. Before the internet, nobody would give pro-lifers the time of day. The internet made our job ten times easier because now images made our case.

I remember when I was in university, just as the internet was making its debut, I decided to go see for myself what fetal development looked like. I had always defended the right to life on principle, never really inquiring as to the what an unborn child really looked like.

So I went to my university science library and looked up some pictures of fetal development in obstetric textbooks. And I was floored. Absolutely floored. I couldn't get over how well-developed an embryo was at 5 1/2 weeks.

When the internet came on the scene, pro-lifers flooded it with pictures of the unborn. The fetus-as-blob-of-tissue argument was blown out of the water. The humanity of the unborn was there for all to see.

It just made our job so much easier.

The internet also made it possible to connect to like-minded individuals as never before. I discovered I was not alone. I know that a lot of people in many causes/identity groups could say that, and it was very true for pro-lifers.

The internet allowed for us to become a force to be reckoned with-- not a powerhouse-- yet-- but certainly a lobby group with some pull. Nobody gave pro-lifers the time of day in the 90s. But now... We seem to be getting stronger and stronger.

Note how a lot of my reminiscences deal with the "virtual" world. I feel like I've done enough in the virtual world. Some day, when I'm not so busy with kids, I want to organized In Real Life, face to face. The internet is a useful tool, it helps convince and recruit pro-lifers, but it cannot be the number one focus of our efforts. Our efforts ultimately have to be on the ground.