This article is an inspiration for anyone just beginning pro-life work, or someone who has been involved for a long time.
Essay taken from the PA Pro-Life Federation's Pro-Life Reference Manual, see end of essay for more info.
Something haunted me when I entered the pro-life movement full-time, and it took me a while to figure out what it was. It was hidden in the words of my college journalism professor who told me six months after I came to the PA Pro-Life Federation that in the region I came from "There are still newspapers that need good copy editors if you ever decide you want a real job." Wherever I go, I'm reminded that the average person, if not disapproves, fails to comprehend what would possess a 25-year-old man to dedicate his life to fighting for what on the surface appears to be the futile cause of ending legal abortion.
If you're not careful enough to keep your eyes on the prize in the distant future, the circumstances of the moment might make you believe it really is a futile cause and scare you out of even trying to stand for it. All around us, we see that the odds are stacked in favor of our political opponents. While pro-life candidates enjoy a clear margin of victory in elections, we don't see any substantial change in a judicial system that took it upon itself to dictate that no longer could a mother be kept from killing her child in the womb. In our government the forum for debate is shaped by those who are hostile toward the sanctity of life, so chances of the law actually defending what is right any time in the near future are slim if not nonexistent. Despite years of attempts by pro-life persons to get America to face reality, a majority of Americans do not favor protecting life enough to consider it a high priority.
"Objective" members of the media continue to use bizarre, meaningless terms like "pro-choice" (as if one can condone the right to choose a violent act without condoning the act itself) to cloud the issue, hoping that no one, including the reporters themselves, will be able to clearly discern right from wrong. The truth about what an abortion really is remains conspicuously absent from even the most fair-minded of "mainstream" media coverage of the issue. Undeniable biological evidence that proves that life begins no later than conception is considered opinion. The baseless opinion that "We just don't know when life begins" is deemed fact. All of these factors taken together with many more are enough to make one think a dedicated pro-lifer is a hopeless idealist tilting at windmills. "So why'd you bother getting involved in the first place?" the voice of the whole world seemed to be whispering in my ear. Sometimes insight into a problem can come from the most unexpected sources, though. Sources like Hollywood. The show I'll Fly Away, which was created for NBC and found a home on public television after its cancellation, is a serious about the dawn of the American civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's.
One of the main characters on the show is a white male district attorney in the South who recognizes the injustice of racial inequality and does what little he can to offset the effects of his decade's version of Supreme Court-induced political correctness--a mentality that races can be "separate but equal." What strikes me most about this show is that we rarely ever get to see him win. Week after week, viewers see him try to stand up for what is right, and usually fail. He tries to prosecute a white man who has murdered a black man, only to find the judicial system, the police, the public, his friends, and even some of his family standing in the way. He speaks out against the morally twisted status quo. And the people don't listen. A cross is burned on his from lawn. His children are taunted in school by the children of racist parents. He is mocked by masses of people whose intellectual understanding of the issue could never challenge his own. He runs for a higher public office and despite being the more talented and qualified candidate, loses by a landslide because he has made a habit of doing what is right, rather than what is politically expedient. He is a victim of people who brand him a radical and dismiss him because they are blind to reality or just unwilling to listen to someone with moral convictions. And yet, somehow, by the grace of God over the passage of time he did win. We have come a long way as a society, and for the most part, the agenda of equality that real people like him fought against all odds for has been established. If the minority who knew what was right has allowed the misled majority to force them into cowardly silence, the hard-fought victories would never have come.
That's why those of us in the pro-life movement need to recognize we are in this battle for the long haul. We may see few and small victories along the way, but we run the race with intention of ultimate victory. It may take more time than many of us have, but justice will prevail. Another view of a historic battle against social injustice is the film Schindlers's List, an absolutely chilling portrayal of the Nazi holocaust based on the true story of Oscar Schindler, who saved hundreds of Jews from horrible deaths at Auschwitz by keeping them in the haven of his factory for seven months at the end of World War II. Schindler was no storybook hero. He was a chain-smoking, heavy-drinking, bed-hopping (as the film too explicitly demonstrates), man whose business survived as long as it did only because of help from another man who ran it behind the scenes. But when faced with the opportunity to stand up for what was just, Schindler gave all he had to save lives. He became, in the grand scheme of things, a man whose life saved many others who were helpless when declared nonpersons by the arrogant regime that ruled over them. Those he saved gave him a ring with an inscription from the Talmud saying, "If a man saves one life, he save the world entire." The film closes with an epitaph for Schindler saying he failed at his marriage and at several businesses after the war, but the descendants of people he saved from certain death who are alive today number more than six thousand. In the closing scene, we see the real people whom Schindler saved coming to visit his grave. The line of people stretches too far for the camera to focus on it. Schindler's contribution to the world is staggering to consider. Had he looked the other way, this crowd still alive today would have met certain death 50 years ago.
This is why I devote my time and energy to fighting for the right to life in our day. People are dying unjustly because our culture allows it. Four thousand four hundred times each day in this country, the publicly sanctioned murder of a baby takes place. Some of their blood would splash on my hands if I knew about their plight but made no attempt to save them. Unborn children are the most powerless of oppressed groups in world history. They cannot hold sit-ins and protests demanding their rights. They do not find strength in their numbers as each one is unaware of the others. They cannot pray for God's defense of their safety. They cannot speak, and when they scream in pain from the torture they are subjected to, their cries cannot be heard by human ears. Someone has to be willing to take a stand for them. Even if he gets nothing in return. Even if no one understands his resolve. Even if he accomplishes little more with his life than saving a single one of them. Even if he invests all of his time and doesn't even live to see the dividends.
Change for the better happens so much more gradually than change for the worse. But it does happen. My love for human life compels me to be a part of that change in whatever way God allows.
Taken from the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federations: Pro-Life Reference Manual, with permission. To find out more about their work you can go to: www.paprolife.org
or contact them at: 4800 Jonestown Rd. Ste. 102 Harrisburg, PA 17109-1701 Phone (717) 541-0034 or fax: 717.541.0073.