Pro-Life Movement's Waterloo; Planned Parenthood Funding Battle Will Determine Whether Movement Has Any Clout Left

Article excerpt


The moment of truth is coming for the pro-life movement. The battle over defunding Planned Parenthood will show if we are a politically viable force - with political power that is respected and feared - or simply a cute political bauble.

In the more promising years of pro-life history, we had culture-war giants like Jerry Falwell and John Cardinal O'Connor - men who were feared for their ability to name adversaries, define the terms of battle and create the atmosphere in which political scalps were nailed to the wall on Election Day.

Those days are gone. Our best pro-life leaders are in the grave, and current leaders are usually not worthy of the name. They are not feared - nor even respected - because they are usually not known in the halls of power. Some of them raise enormous sums of tax-exempt money on the issue of abortion, but their tax-exempt status shackles them during elections and severely limits their lobbying for anti-abortion legislation. They have grandiose conferences, build flashy websites and then host cybermarches. With few exceptions, these leaders are not leading a political insurrection against child-killing. Sadly, most of them are ciphers outside the pro-life ghetto. They have no political scalps, for they wield no political sword.

This reality is coming into sharp focus in the fight to defund Planned Parenthood. Pro-life leaders give men like House Majority Leader John A. Boehner pro-life awards; they give Rep. Mike Pence premature accolades; they send out press releases (which are usually ignored), hastily praising our victory against Planned Parenthood, when no victory has been won. Too many leaders show a woeful lack of political acumen, prowess and valor. The bully pulpits of the past are in ruins. Righteous bullies are all but gone, and we barely have any pulpits.

Compare the current pro-life debacle to the Tea Party movement. Tea Party activists get it; they are demanding real cuts, with political threats (and scalps) to back up their demands. They have not become institutionalized like the pro-life movement. They want concrete results, not symbolic victories or access to and photo-ops with congressmen.

We must study the examples of our fallen heroes and the current Tea Party insurrection. We must tell Mr. Boehner and the GOP House members, You have taken a fine first step in defunding Planned Parenthood. …