Nashville, TN — A panel of pro-life advocates at the National Religious Broadcasters’ International Christian Media Convention in Nashville, TN, addressed how to get the media message right regarding the value of unborn lives for a new generation.
Gregory Thornbury, President of The King’s College in New York, moderated the panel comprising Alison Howard, Communications Director for Concerned Women for America; Jeanne Monahan-Mancini, President of March for Life; Kelly Rosati, Vice President of Community Outreach for Focus on the Family; and Lila Rose, President of Live Action.
Howard challenged the Christian media and ministry professionals in the room to ask themselves what would it take for them to choose life if they were faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
“As a young woman who advocates for life, I’ve had to ask myself that because I can’t do my job well unless I have sincerity in my heart and have addressed the seriousness of that because that’s what young women are facing,” Howard said.
“I know that I would need you, one person, to come up next to me and say, ‘Alison, can you do nine months for someone else to have 90 years?’” she said, adding that the devil wants women to think they’re alone.
More than half of women obtaining abortions in the United States are under age 25, Howard said, and 40 percent of minors getting an abortion say neither of their parents knows.
“I want us to be loving and redemptive and compassionate because ... that’s how we change this culture,” Howard said.
Monahan-Mancini advised bringing the issue of abortion into the light.
“We don’t have to have the most articulate, perfect arguments ready about this,” Monahan-Mancini said. “We don’t have to have perfect apologetics. All you have to do is show it for what it is.”
Advances in science and technology such as more defined ultrasounds “support everything that we’re about,” Monahan-Mancini said. “It’s not against what we’re doing. It’s for what we’re doing.”
“If you look at the beautiful picture of a heart beating on an ultrasound, it’s such a young moment in that baby’s life, and it’s convincing to that woman who is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy,” Monahan-Mancini said.
Rose emphasized allowing people to have an encounter with the humanity of an unborn child through ultrasound technology so that they can see that, for instance, even at the end of the first trimester all of the child’s organs are present.
“When you allow them to have an encounter, it’s transformative,” Rose said. “And when you give someone an opportunity to see what abortion does to that child, it’s also transformative.”
Abortion is “the greatest human rights abuse of our day,” Rose said, as the weakest members of society are having a fundamental right — the right to life — stripped away.
Millennials are hungry to fight for something, to get behind a cause, Rose said. “We want our lives to be meaningful.” When people join the pro-life movement, they’re “tapping into a desire that we were given by God to stand up for the weak, to stand up for the hurting, to be compassionate,” she added.
One of the lies of the abortion industry, Rose said, is that somehow abortion is good for women.
“Women, when they walk into abortion clinics — especially young women, sometimes victims of sexual abuse, women who are in situations of pressure or coercion — they’re not walking into that abortion clinic feeling powerful,” Rose said. “They’re walking into that abortion clinic because they feel powerless.”
Rosati previewed a film by Focus on the Family called The Drop Box, which tells the story of a pastor in South Korea who built a box outside his church where people could leave babies who otherwise would be abandoned.
“For the future, for us to see children welcomed into this life ... we’re going to need to see storytelling,” Rosati said. “We’re going to need to do better storytelling that captures the hearts and not just the minds of people.
“And we’re going to also need to see sacrificial love played out so that we have earned the right to be heard and that we are in fact the people willing to give our lives for those without a voice,” Rosati said.
Thornbury asked the panel to answer how the pro-life movement can reawaken the moral imagination of young people who have grown up with ultrasound pictures and know what is in the womb is a baby but who hear the argument from the abortion industry that “abortion kills, but that’s OK.”
“Right now, while we’re speaking,” Rosati said, “in the USA we have 100,000 orphans waiting for families. 100,000. But they’re not healthy, little, perfect little babies. They’re broken kids. They’re teenagers. They’re kids with special needs.
“And if we’re really going to be pro-life people and we’re going to convince anybody that we are really for the dignity of human life, we better be the people who say, ‘Bring those kids to us,’” Rosati said.
“I really believe that until and unless that happens, it’s going to be difficult for us to gain the moral high ground and be able to persuade people that there has to be a better way,” she added.
Thornbury noted that pro-life leaders finally saw again the election of a Republican Congress last fall only to see a failure of nerve on a proposed fetal pain bill soon after the GOP took control. He asked how to get the pro-life message across to this generation while not forsaking the space in public policy that is key to ending legal abortions.
The pro-life issue is not going away, Monahan-Mancini said. “It’s a winning issue,” and people like her work everyday to provide legislators with the information and tools they need to change the law.
Howard encouraged people to use social media to serve as beacons in the dark.
“Don’t be afraid to post that Facebook post sharing The Drop Box. Don’t be afraid to give a tweet or speak life into someone in a comment or in a direct message or on Instagram,” Howard said, “because they’ll see that and someone will know it’s OK to come to you with the hard questions that have to be answered.”
By Erin Roach
Published: March 2, 2015