Bob Bird: Morphing of the pro-life movement

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By BOB BIRD

“We are in a real war, with real blood being shed, real lives being lost, a true genocide in our midst.”

“This is a war, a bloody war, for the soul of our country.”

“We fight not only in the temporal world, but the Powers, Thrones, Dominions, and Principalities of an evil, supernatural realm. We must arm ourselves with prayer, penance, and sacrifice.”

“Any nation that kills its children in such massive numbers, that country won’t last long.”

So went the rhetoric in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I joined the pro-life movement. I even heard it from politicians, but they mostly spoke that way in front of selected audiences. I heard it from evangelical preachers and from prolife leaders at banquets and coffee klatches. 

But as a Catholic, I was puzzled why I never heard it during Mass. When my pastor said, “Our church’s stance on this issue is well known,” I figured it was not necessary.

I noted, however, that there was an underlying dissent within the overall church and within my own parish as well. I decided that the pastor was merely being prudent and that I had better make up for him.

In Alaska, the pro-life movement was being led by evangelicals. They were eagerly trying to get Ronald Reagan elected president. For that reason and many others, I was, too. I also wanted to get rid of Sen. Mike Gravel, a liberal Democrat, and got behind the effort to oust him in the Alaska open primary of 1980 by voting for his Democratic challenger, Clark Gruening.

It worked, and the pro-life Republican Frank Murkowski breezed into the US Senate. With a Reagan landslide victory, we were on our way.

Or so we thought.

Somehow, the gravity of this issue was impossible to communicate. The media just would not give it respect. This was puzzling, for civil rights were the “in” thing for decades, and what more obvious a cause could they ask for? There were pro-life liberals, but they were dwindling in number, or becoming Reagan Democrats or outright Republicans.

The media treated the pro-life activists as somehow “emotional,” which was a another way of saying, “irrational.” They wrote sympathetically of elected mainstream conservatives, like Sen. Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania, being forced to endure boring and long lectures on fetal development and abortion techniques — or worse, shocked and offended by viewing bloody slide shows.

Loud chanting at picketing events and approaches by sidewalk counselors was characterized as “intimidating women seeking a constitutionally protected right,” dangerous to the efficiency of the medical staff, etc. Crisis pregnancy centers were demonized and called “fake clinics.” They still are.

This deliberate ignoring and ridiculing of the issue was so frustrating that many of our conferences and talks centered on “How to keep the issue alive,” or “How to counteract the media lies” and even “How to get media attention,” a thing that is now impossible to imagine. Although Reagan even wrote a brief book while president, Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation, it was intentionally ignored or given short shrift, except within pro-life circles.

Ah, yes, “prolife circles” — as if we had our own little universe in which to operate, at least for the time being. There were many scientifically accurate, outstanding, low-budget/high-quality movies and documentaries made, such as Assignment Life, Eclipse of Reason, The Silent Scream, A Better Way, Walk America for Life, and many more. Celebrities such as Pat Boone, Charlton Heston, Jack Nicholson and Patty Duke lent their reputations.

The titanic, and unmatched in history, “March for Life” every Jan. 22, organized by ex-Marine Nellie Gray, was usually ignored by the media, the number of participants reported as low, constantly dwindling, or mostly Catholic. Pro-abortion counter-demonstrators, always fewer and merely token in number, usually received more media coverage.

This frustration brought about, almost inevitably, a pro-life response in non-violent civil disobedience, generally called “The Rescue Movement.” Using the examples of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and many others, pro-lifers were convinced, in massive numbers and from coast to coast, to blockade abortion clinics, and suffer arrest and punishment. This dovetailed nicely with regular picketing, sidewalk counseling and with the burgeoning crisis pregnancy centers which existed across the U.S. and Canada.

Civil disobedience would not be easy. Participants had to be trusted to follow a discipline that would remain peaceful, prayerful, and submissive. They had to accept the basic differences that existed between Evangelicals and Catholics, to be set aside for a common cause. They had to accept the reality of a criminal record and the real possibility of police brutality and prison terms of both short and long duration.

But this would deliver the goods, it was hoped, as to demonstrating the determination and nerve of pro-lifers and, above all, the seriousness of the abortion issue.

The frustrations due to the disdain of the mainstream media, attempting their best to call us “extremists,” “anti-choice,” “illegal,” and “violent,” were certainly disappointing but not unexpected. But the institutional pro-life movement ignored us like we were radioactive, something that evangelist Franky Schaeffer warned about in a speech before a general session of the National Right to Life Committee. This was hardest for us to accept. 

Imagine if the NAACP, in the 1960s, had joined the chorus of “white moderates” criticizing Dr. King in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. That is what was happening. Schaeffer galvanized the true zeal that underlay the movement, upset the moderates, and smoked out the tepid NRLC. Before too long, many of us viewed the NRLC and its state affiliates as either too timid to accept the next phase of the struggle, or worse, were part of the “controlled opposition.”

What are the phases of this struggle?

First, being ignored. Secondly, ridiculed. Third, hostility. Fourth, persecution. And fifth, respect, and with it … victory.

The Dobbs decision was a battle victory, not the surrender of evil. Evil is now cornered and ticked off. We have gone through stages One, Two and Three, and are now entering Stage Four. 

And as sure as day follows night, we will endure until Stage Five.

Bob Bird is chair of the Alaskan Independence Party and the host of a talk show on KSRM radio, Kenai.

28 COMMENTS

    • Freedom of choice allows the political opposition to the killing of innocent human lives.

  1. I believe an epilog analysis may reveal that a pro choice position is an an anti-US republic position.

  2. Bob Bird is an awesome guy but to say that “evil is now cornered” when murdering babies is STILL “legal” is as pathetic as pathetic gets.

    The SCOTUS ruling will lead to more abortions not less. Why? Because already 2 Gates foundations have pledged $280 million a year to fly women all over the nation to murder their babies, other billionaires like the actual collaborator Soros have also pledged further support of such, numerous corporations have additionally pledged to fly their employees to States where murder is “legal” and if anybody doesn’t think billion$$$ more is to come they’re delusional. So-called pro-life President George W. actually doubled the amount of our tax dollars given to Planned Murderhood by Clinton from $500 million a year to $1 billion. That corporate welfare was given for Bush’s 8 year and the same under Obama for a total of $16 billion, We can be sure Obiden and the other fascists running Congress will spend billion$$$ more to make sure “no baby goes unmurdered.” For years, our “conservative” Alaska Governors have allowed our tax dollars to pay for flying pregnant woman AND their husbands or boyfriends to Seattle, paid for their hotels, all transportation and given them an allowance so they could get abortions after 22 or more weeks (which are not done in Anchorage). Again, if anybody thinks women won’t purposely get pregnant to get free airfare and around $5000 of other free perks they’re delusional.

    • Why are so many men concerned with what comes out of a woman’s vagina, but not about the life of the unwanted child? Why are so many “christian” “men” pro prison, pro death penalty, and anti-social safety nets?
      Why are these “men” clinging to their guns and their “religion”/
      I bet these “christians” will see to it that the Violence against Women Act is never passed.

      • You answered your own question. Life begins at conception… when the DNA becomes unique to the human child. We don’t see the debate as male vs female. Our concern is for a human being unable to speak for herself; an unborn child. You compared the life of an unborn child to that of one fully born; both unwanted. We ask you to understand, none of us have the right to murder any child, unborn or fully born, merely because they are unwanted.

      • “……..Why are so many men concerned with what comes out of a woman’s vagina, but not about the life of the unwanted child?……..”
        The life of the unwanted child is the precise reason why abortion us politically and morally opposed. The woman’s vagina isn’t a consideration whatsoever.

        • Have you seen the streets filled with unwanted children? They are pan handling on the busiest corners in Anchorage. Why won’t you help them?

          • Suzzie, 1) The time to prevent the existence of unwanted children is before they have their own DNA (personhood) and a right to life. 2) Most children on our streets were totally wanted; but ended up on the streets due to their own poor choices. 3) Its a good bet most conservatives do far more to help the homeless than you ever dreamed of doing. 4) The facts and truth do not support your side of this debate which explains your last comment being a feeble attempt at argumentum ad hominem (a logical fallacy).

  3. “But as a Catholic, I was puzzled why I never heard it during Mass.”

    Unfortunately for the sexually abused children, the catholic church’s popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, and nuns were too busy covering up hundreds of years of pedophilia to keep their money machine going. Estimates of its wealth are over $30 BILLION. The murder of over 62 MILLION babies was not a priority.

  4. Your words encourage me to press on with outspoken my belief in the underpinnings of the pro-life movement: the sanctity of life.

  5. There is always someone who can’t have babies that would love to have your baby. Adoption not abortion, adoption option is good for all hearts involved. Thank you mom for allowing me to see the globe mothers rule. Adoption option you bet.

  6. The love of money is the root of all evil, so it is no surprise almost all abortions are done for financial reasons. Given the current state of the economy, don’t expect them to go away any time soon.

  7. For one thing, those who seek after God’s heart must speak truth… at whatever cost. Do not succumb to the deceptions of the father of all lies. Stop using the term “Pro-Choice” which is just another lie. When speaking of abortion, the proper term is “Pro-Murder.”

      • That “cult” you inquire of would be “The Way” to everlasting life as described in the good news (gospel) brought by Jesus Christ, Son of God (Yeshua bin Yahweh). You know, He’s also the Son of Man who’s birth defined the year we were born and the year in which we will die. He’s also the one who’s birth defined our most notable national holy day which is celebrated world-wide. However, don’t take my word for it. Just pick up the most popular, most circulated book in the history of the world, The Holy Bible, which is wholly true. I suggest you start with John 1:1 and Hebrews 1. If you humbly and sincerely ask Him to reveal Himself to you, He will do so.

    • My. My and here I thought it was pro singles bar and pro the sexual revolution ? I heard that “choice” was do it in the road baby! and often!

  8. “……..First, being ignored. Secondly, ridiculed. Third, hostility. Fourth, persecution. And fifth, respect, and with it … victory.
    The Dobbs decision was a battle victory, not the surrender of evil. Evil is now cornered and ticked off. We have gone through stages One, Two and Three, and are now entering Stage Four……..”
    I mostly agree. Yes, we are entering Stage Four, but instead of “persecution”, I’d call it “violence”. Guerrilla warfare. Sabotage. Insurgency.
    And I would use the word “fear” instead of “respect” to describe Stage Five, as the phrase “Fear of the Lord” is understood.
    This Stage Four of the abortion issue merges with several other moral issues in the overall Culture War. We are still in the midst of the political warfare campaign, but this coming general election in November should see great political gains for conservatives. This Culture War moves further into violence afterwards.
    The Enemy has gained almost full control over our institutions in The Long March over the past half century. Until we gain back our education industry (from pre-school to post graduate), media, and government agencies, the war will continue. This is either a long, gradual war, or a short, ultra-violent civil war.
    I think we need more aggressive criminal prosecution and at least double our current prison capacity.

  9. With all the talk about abortion lately perhaps it would be timely to address the role of men in this debate. In particular, deadbeat Dads who are the lowest of the low. They mooch off society and take no responsibility for their offspring and place the burden of raising their children on other taxpayers. If we are going to force a woman to bring a child into this world than the least we can do as a society is to make sure her partner feels the emotional & financial burden equally. Instead, our laws encourage the male to abandon their role in fatherhood with financial incentives like Denali Care, WIC programs and other social programs that are leading to the breakup of the nuclear family.

    • IDK ….child support is pretty tenacious in AK, it actually goes overboard in some cases; like if the mom has remarried or is cohabitating w/ a man who has high income & the low income dad has to keep giving her half his wages. The only way out of it is to not work; so it encourages unemployment sometimes.

    • “…….perhaps it would be timely to address the role of men in this debate. In particular, deadbeat Dads……..”
      You’re trolling, Fishing for Food. A man can’t even run to most foreign nations without the long arm of the law reaching out and getting him for child support. And if he can’t pay, Government will and put it on his tab. He is financially responsible for the first 18 years of that child’s life, yet he has no say whatsoever if the woman decides to abort the child?
      There’s your injustice. Let’s talk about that for a while………

      • RT – the long arm of the law is not as long as you think it is! All an unmarried pregnant woman has to tell the health & social system is that the father is unknown to unlock the purse strings of society. Usually these deadbeats have been well schooled in this tactic by family or the various social workers they have encountered in their troubled life.

  10. The same people who now cry about wanting freedom for their bodies were the ones who wanted mandatory vaccines. I, and there are many like me, are pro choice with limitations. Late term and after birth abortions are scary. Was there a time limit for after birth abortion? I better be kind to my 89 year old mother, she could abort me!

  11. The morphing of the pro-choice movement political position will reveal in retrospect that there is no real interest in eliminating products of conception so much as further progressively injuring the US Constitution and the republic itself.

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