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FIRST-PERSON: New name, same injustice

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (BP)–Brace yourself for the onslaught.

Complete with a new name and national media campaign, the leading pro-abortion political lobby now called “NARAL: Pro-Choice America” will assault your senses this month with a multi-million-dollar effort that seeks to reassert the pro-abortion lobby’s public policy agenda in the face of new prospects for pro-life legislation in Congress — and to set the stage for the 2004 presidential election. (And you thought you were in for a well-deserved break from politics after the mid-term elections in November.)

Formerly known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, the organization has launched the new effort as America this month marks the 30th anniversary of the infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand in the United States.

“Through our name change we are underscoring that our country is pro-choice. It is the right name for this moment in history,” NARAL’s president, Kate Michelman, says.

Actually, the new name is a clever ploy to set the rhetorical table against pro-lifers through a slick public relations strategy that emphasizes America’s supreme value of freedom, without regard for the universal, human right to life.

“It’s a free way of getting ‘pro-choice’ into a news story, even if editors don’t allow the words to be used in the reporter’s voice,” Emory University legal historian David J. Garrow told The New York Times.

Up to 20 states will be targeted by the NARAL blitz that will include print and television advertising, a national petition drive and even door-to-door canvassing that hopes to gain 2 million new members for the lobby. The advertising campaign will concentrate on two groups of women: the under-35 generation that has come of age since Roe v. Wade and “suburban women who, though fiscally conservative, have been more progressive on social issues,” reports The Times.

NARAL leaders are right to be concerned that their ugly cause may be losing ground. According to CNSNews.com, a Zogby poll taken after the 2002 mid-term elections found that one-fifth of Americans have a less favorable opinion of abortion now than a decade ago and pro-life support had nearly doubled when compared with the number of people who more closely identify with the pro-abortion agenda. And a 1999 Princeton Survey Research poll found that 70 percent of women support more restrictions on abortion.

“This mobilization will secure the right to choose the same way we won it — one American, one neighborhood, one community, one state and eventually one nation at a time,” Michelman said.

What an outrageous lie! Abortion was not won in the democratic fashion claimed by Michelman; it was imposed on our nation with only seven votes on the United States Supreme Court and over the objection of virtually every state legislature in America, which prohibited the killing of unborn children in 1973.

Just because NARAL has changed its name, no one should be confused about the lobby’s steadfast purpose: absolute legal protection — without any regulation or limitation — for the “choice” to kill unborn human life. “Abortion.” Even though it’s no longer in its name, that’s what NARAL champions.

Ken Connor, president of the pro-family lobby group Family Research Council, rightly observes, “No matter what semantic games NARAL tries to play, the truth is that abortion takes a precious human life. This is the ‘choice’ for which the organization stands, and no amount of linguistic trickery can conceal or change that fact. NARAL is in the business of death, no matter what it calls itself.”

Although pro-life citizens have some cause for optimism in 2003, the battle for the sanctity of human life in America is still very much an uphill struggle.

Thirty years after Roe, more than a million children are aborted each year with only the most nominal restrictions in place. Further, even if some important regulation of abortion can be won in Washington and our state legislatures, it’s nevertheless clear that most Americans are unwilling to relinquish the core “right” to abortion guaranteed in Roe v. Wade.

The life and legacy of William Wilberforce, the British slavery foe, is a valuable lesson to Americans in 2003. Forty-six years after he first introduced a bill to free the slaves, Parliament adopted the Emancipation Bill in 1833 — a mere three days before Wilberforce’s death.

“His life under God reminds us that it may take generations to see cultural transformation,” notes Southern Baptist ethicist C. Ben Mitchell. “We might never see it ourselves. But, we are to be faithful to do what God calls us to do, all the while remembering that God will accomplish his purpose in and through us.”

As the pro-abortion lobby deceptively cloaks its agenda in order to win the political battle to allow the destruction of children, the prophet Micah’s message to Israel is one we must embrace 30 years into the struggle for the sanctity of human life in America: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:9).

In a day of pro-life peril and promise, let us seek justice for the unborn, while offering mercy to women and their children, knowing that God is indeed in control.
Smith is executive editor of the Florida Baptist Witness.

    About the Author

  • James A. Smith Sr.