It looks like the media blackout on the Gosnell trial is starting to break. The unveiling of the truth in all its gruesome details is a relief for us pro-lifers. Media bias has been a bane on humanity for too long. But in the grand scheme of things, we haven’t achieved much by simply forcing the media to report on it. We have to aim higher. The pro-life movement has suffered so many defeats over the years that we get giddy about small victories and lose sight of the big picture. As we celebrate, our opponents are already three moves ahead of us and regaining the upper hand.
Let me tell you how I believe the Gosnell case is going to unfold in the coming weeks. The media will become increasingly engaged. Average Joe’s across America will be learning about it and feeling disgusted. Talk shows will have a few slots on it. Some politicians will be asked to comment. In the end, Gosnell will be convicted, along with some of his staff. Will he get the death penalty? I don’t know.
But here’s what I do know: the pro-choicers and their media buddies are going to attempt to regain control of the narrative in the coming days, even before the trial ends. Here’s how they’re going to spin it (they’ve already started):
- Clinics like Gosnell’s are extremely rare. The vast majority of abortion mills are hygienic and staffed with trained professionals.
- The Gosnell tragedy underscores the importance of keeping abortion legal. The horror of women aborting into toilet bowls or dying from abortions are exactly what used to happen when women were forced to seek illegal abortions prior to Roe vs. Wade.
- Government authorities really dropped the ball in not responding to complaints about Gosnell and shutting him down sooner. To prevent this from ever happening again, all we need is more government regulations on abortion; more government inspectors; more government subsidies for abortuaries so they have all the money they need to buy sterilized supplies and hire trained personnel.
The biggest mistake the pro-life movement could make is to focus the bulk of our efforts on trying to rebut these points. That would be playing defense. We have to go on the offensive and create an entirely different narrative that they’ll have to rebut.
I think our message should focus on four basic points:
- Regular abortions are not materially different from Gosnell’s barbarities. We need to keep linking the abortion industry to Gosnell because they’re both doing substantially the same thing to babies, the only difference being inside vs. outside the womb. It’s incredible that some secular journalists are openly writing articles describing their sudden realization of how abortion really kills a little baby. This is a historic moment.
- Abortion hurts women. Even when performed in sanitary conditions, abortion remains a surgical procedure with risks. Emergency contraception is also fraught with dangers. How many women died from using RU-486? It’s time to bring back those tragic stories so we can save women’s lives. This isn’t just about the babies. Moreover, negligence on the part of abortion providers is not as rare as some people think. This would be a good time to dig up those Live Action videos to show that many Planned Parenthood facilities are more interested in performing abortions than in caring for women. If the secular media grab a hold of that story they can blow it wide open.
- Keep the media on the defensive with respect to their negligence in covering this story. A surprising number of journalists are criticizing themselves and their colleagues in public. Let’s keep them feeling guilty for their dereliction of duty. Tell them that our trust in them has been shattered. This will result in more coverage going forward.
- Options are available for crisis pregnancies. This is a huge point that we’ve failed miserably to convey. Most people don’t know that crisis pregnancy centres exist where they can obtain financial and emotional support to continue their pregnancy.
We don’t want to overemphasize the lack of safety of abortion providers, however, because pro-choicers will quickly counter with their argument #3 about more government regulation. Besides, we know the US is not a third-world country. They do have quality health care facilities. Ultimately, even if abortion were as safe as going to the dentist, it would still be immoral because it kills babies. Sterilized murder is just as bad as unsanitary murder.
Another point to bear in mind. Many of the writers experiencing a change of heart are still supportive of abortion for the “hard cases” (rape, incest, life of the mother). This will often be true of your friends and co-workers who are coming around as a result of Gosnell. This isn’t the time to engage in arguments with them about becoming 100% pro-life. They’ve already come a looooong way in a very short time. Don’t expect a full conversion overnight. How many of us took years before we could fully accept the implications of being pro-life? Assert your position but focus on the new-found common ground with these people and try to bring others to join the club.
Use questions rather than affirmations. Make people think rather than give them a speech. They’ll be more open to what they conclude themselves than to anything you say. Don’t come across as wanting to push an agenda but rather as wanting them to think for themselves and reach the obvious conclusions.
Also, don’t approach the politicians at this stage. As my friend once told me, most politicians are neither pro-life nor pro-choice, but rather pro-vote. They’ll go where the wind is blowing. It’s too soon to expect them to change positions now. But after this wind has blown for a while, we’ll see some movement.
Let’s keep the pressure on. I have a good feeling about this.