The first pro-life event I recall attending was in 1977. (Imagine!) It was the Festival for Life in Ottawa, Ontario and included such diverse speakers as civil-rights activist and comedian, Dick Gregory and author and journalist Malcolm Muggeridge. It was a wonderful weekend, which included a miraculous intervention, which I’ll tell about another time. It was the early days of the pro-life movement in Canada and there was still diversity of ideas among its adherents, but it was already beginning to change.
In those days, we believed that change would come through education. If people just understood that an unborn baby was every bit as much of a baby as the one you could hold and cuddle, then, of course, abortion would end. We fought against the dishonest language of “products of conception” and the like, and showed up with fetal models on display… to no avail. It was like Alice through the Looking Glass – it was very difficult to come to terms with a world that looked at an unspeakable horror and called it good.
There were also pro-lifers who worked on the legislative front, trying to curtail bad legislation and to encourage laws that respected the unborn. Part of that was also to try to elect pro-life MP’s. These were overall losing battles, partly because they were tied to the same underlying assumptions of the prolife education wing. Perhaps the greatest weakness was the all-or-nothing position of much pro-life activity and an unwillingness to work towards incremental improvements in the law.
I am proud that my children, now grown, support the pro-life cause and I respect that this generation is ready to take it to the next level. They come from a different perspective. Their generation has endured a lifetime of legalized abortion. Their peers are the ones who make up those numbers of 100,000 abortions per year in Canada or 1,000,000 in the US. Those are actual people who are not here in their classrooms and playgrounds and campuses. So, this generation has something important to say.
That’s why I was so pleased to read Alissa Golob’s blog recently. She shares some hard truths about what’s happening in the pro-life movement these days. Alissa is co-founder of Right Now, a politically-active pro-life organization. And they are active! They are putting a lot of miles on their sneakers, going door-to-door drumming up support for the prolife cause and for pro-life candidates. They are traveling the country, speaking to others who are looking to be the change in our society, inspiring and empowering them to do just that.
I know there are many of my generation and older who gave generously of themselves for decades whose passion has never waned. Their witness to the Millennial generation has inspired them and now the next generation is ready to take the torch from us and run their leg of the race. That is one measure of success. It’s time for us to wish them,”Godspeed!”