There are moments in the lives of men and women that, in retrospect, shift the course of human history in ways too enormous and too wonderful to even imagine at the time. In those moments, often against their will, their hearts are set ablaze for something much bigger than themselves. One of those moments was in the year 1785, when a twenty-five-year old aspiring English clergyman named Thomas Clarkson decided to enter an essay competition.
Pro-lifers uncomfortable with most forms of educational outreach often pinpoint their discomfort very specifically on one thing: Abortion victim photography makes people upset. There are a variety of responses to this, of course—images of abortion victims should make us upset, because little human beings are being physically torn limb from limb. But often, I point out the fact that regardless of whether we choose to use photographs of abortion victims in our outreach, people will always get upset, and they will always accuse pro-lifers of being extreme.
The last time cabinet minister Maryam Monsef made the news, the occasion was her bungled handling of the Liberals’ short-lived plan to enact electoral reform. Now, Monsef has appeared in headlines across the country saying that denying someone access to the violence of abortion is itself violence. From Maclean’s:
Status of Women Minister Maryam Monsef says denying access to the full range of reproductive services — including abortion — is a form of violence against women.
It is common knowledge in the pro-life movement that the “pro-choice” media is, for the most part, “pro-abortion.” This is not an attempt to demonize their motives, but simply the only rational conclusion that observation can produce. Consistently, the media and their abortion industry allies portray legislation that would give women more information—informed consent, information concerning the baby’s development in the womb, ultrasounds—as “anti-choice,” when in in fact these policies simply allow women to make their irreversible, permanent decision with more facts.
It was near the turn of the century, after abolitionism had swept through Europe and seemingly conquered every defender of slavery, that a young shipping clerk named Edmund Dene Morel noticed something strange while going about his business at the harbor in Antwerp, Belgium. Ships were arriving filled to the brim with rubber—that was to be expected. But they were leaving again for the colony of Belgium’s King Leopold II not with goods to be used in payment, but with guns and ammunition. This was strange, Morel thought.
We heard a good deal of blathering from Justin Trudeau and his Liberals during last fall’s election campaign as well as during the many government photo ops that have followed (Trudeau averages one photo op a day) about the need for “science-based public policy.” I’m sure it would irritate them to find out that I happen to agree with this sentiment entirely.
In the annals of social reform movements, there is one that the pro-life movement has identified with most strongly: the abolitionist movement of William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp, and the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The names of many of these courageous and sacrificial men and women have been forgotten by a modern culture that cannot understand their devotion to God and to their afflicted neighbors, but what they achieved was summed up beautifully by the nineteenth-century historian W.E.H.
Across most of the Western world, abortion has been legal in some circumstances for several decades. There have been several exceptions, most notably Ireland and Poland. These countries are hugely significant, because they show clearly that the apocalyptic rhetoric of abortion activists—that any country restricting abortion will morph into a third world hellhole with dismal standards for women’s health and gruesome back alley abortions—are scaremongering fabrications.
Some time ago after a pro-life presentation, I swung by the Macs down the street from my house with a friend. My friend asked the cashier, a middle-aged Indian fellow, what he thought about abortion. Pro-choice, was the answer. It’s the woman’s decision at the end of the day.
So this week, I took one of our “Choice” cards, which depict a first trimester aborted fetus, and went back to the Macs.
“Here,” I offered. “We talked about abortion awhile ago. Images like this helped me understand that we’re talking about a real human being and real violence.”
One of the most predominant challenges for pro-life activists has always been a simple one: Most Christians do not take abortion seriously. While those of us who work in the pro-life movement know that abortions take place with chilling frequency within Christian schools, churches, and organizations, many Christians feel as if this is a problem “out there.” Some church leaders, of course, know that abortions take place—it’s why many are so reticent to allow pro-life speakers to present to their congregants in the first place. It’s too controversial, we often hear.