Pro-life, the times they are a-changing.


Last year, I wrote extensively, both on this blog and in two pieces for the Catholic Herald, that the tide was turning for the pro-life movement.

This very point has been proven by the latest cover of Time magazine, which admits that since the phyrric victory of what was Roe v Wade, the pro-choice side has been fighting a losing battle, with Emily Buchanan writing what I have been saying time and time again – pro-life and feminism are not mutually exclusive.

Of course what happens over there, happens over here, which is why pro-choice advocates have been speaking about the parallels with the American pro-life movement in cowed tones – of course they do not want the success of the pro-life movement being replicated in the UK.

I think one of the refreshing things is the breed of new activists that we are seeing in the UK. Whereas as recently as five years ago, pro-life advocates were seen as retired men and women in their late 60s and early 70s (not that age or gender should preclude anyone from standing up for the rights of the vulnerable), more often than not, the person that you will see praying outside the clinic will be in their early twenties or thirties, in line with a younger, fresher breed of advocates that we are seeing in the UK.

As I said, age or gender should not be an important factor but in terms of the personal outreach, women, particularly those who have experienced an unplanned pregnancy of their own, life as a single mother and especially those who have experienced the loss of abortion, are often better placed to counsel those in difficult circumstances. Empathy is often sneered at, but you need to have a heart for pro-life work, it is not simply an intellectual or ideological exercise.

But in an age where image seems to be everything, the fact that we have young, fresh faces campaigning for the unborn should fill us all with renewed hope. We have a new generation with the blessings and energy of youth, able to use imaginatively the new technology and all the tools at their disposal to spread the pro-life message and also to pass it on to future generations. That these people look great is even better. It’s why they manage to inspire such anger – whilst the general public tend to dismiss those who are clearly of another generation or culture, such as the retired stalwarts or those in clerical or monastic attire who attend vigils, it’s much harder to dismiss those who seem like ‘normal’ people on the outside.

It’s very hard to call someone out as a ‘weirdo’ when their appearance contains reflections of your own normality or aspirations and that’s why it inspires such anger. Young pro-lifers threaten and challenges existing preconceptions whilst foreshadowing the future. There is a definite trend or sea-change in the air, which is why the feminist lobby will cling on to their tired and anatomically and idiomatically incorrect old slogans involving wombs, rosaries and religious paraphernalia.

That’s not a clarion-call for young good-looking bods in the movement which should have room for all, but simply an observation. Even more challenging is the attractive young pro-lifer using the rosary for its intended purpose. Whoah, what’s that all about?!! Which is one of the many fruits of the 40 Days for Life campaign, uniting all those with common purpose in prayer.

 The Alliance of Prolife Students is launched next week. Let’s equip people to be proud advocates of the unborn, let’s get this topic out in the open, it’s time to re-gain some ground from those who would wish to make the subject of abortion a taboo, closed issue, all about personal choice and not up for discussion. Whilst experience is invaluable in terms of outreach, youth should not be an impediment for bearing witness to the truth – abortion is the wilful destruction of life and the greatest injustice in today’s society, with 200,000 lives lost a year. And where better to start spreading the word, than in places of academia, where a free and frank exchange of ideas and discussion should be welcomed and encouraged. Let’s get people talking about this in bars, coffee shops, libraries, student halls of residence and later on around water coolers and in places of work. Let’s dispel the fear and stigma of being thought ‘judgemental’ for expressing the basic right to life of all human beings.

The future is young, bright and it’s orthodox. No wonder pro-choicers are on the run. Let’s give them a real run for their money in 2013.

8 thoughts on “Pro-life, the times they are a-changing.

  1. Caroline, you really need to get to grips with the feminist attack on the ‘preciousness’ of women. If you want to make a feminist snarl offer her your seat on the Tube (if you are a man, that is).

    Abortion is tailor-made for feminism. It asserts a woman’s independence. It guarantees her career will never be blown off course by anything ‘unplanned’. But above all it asserts that she is not ‘precious’. She doesn’t need protecting or supporting. She can go off and get drastic things done to her insides come home singing ‘I will survive’.

    If women can’t have abortions, they can’t sustain masculine sexual habits and they can’t maintain their independence. It’s as simple as that.

    I’m delighted of course that some feminists oppose abortion, but they have adopted an incoherent position. This should be the first step towards adopting a coherent pro-life view; it certainly isn’t the last.

    1. Joseph –
      I feel one flaw in your characterisation of the pro-choice feminist standpoint as ‘coherent’ ignores the fact that, by casting aside past conventions of sexual constraint in favour of license, the feminist campaign for consequence-free sex – through mechanical contraception, abortifacients and abortion – has let loose the worst controlling, chauvinistic and self-centred male instincts, which women’s liberation and empowerment was designed to overcome.

      The feminist Andrea Dworkin wrote that there was no point having abortion on demand in a patriarchal society, for it would become used as a tool of oppression and coercion. We see this painfully clearly in India – as highlighted by ‘It’s a Girl’ and the ‘One Million Missing’ campaign – and to a lesser extent in the UK, where the RCOG recommends that women who show up at abortion clinics several times, or with a controlling, domineering male companion, should be considered at risk of sexual abuse (RCOG, ‘Guidelines on the Care of Women Seeking an Induced Abortion’). The RCOG has also highlighted the fact that women who have repeat abortions are more likely to be victims of domestic violence:

      The Independent has recently run several informative articles on the misogyny and sexual insults women are subjected to on university campuses. Reproductive rights do not seem to have created a gender-equal society for these women.

      So those feminists who view a feminist utopia as one where men are incentivised to be responsible, supportive and decent in their relationships with women need to think again on the issue of abortion, IMO.

      1. Agreed. I also was pondering on this whole issue of how to define feminism.

        If by the term we mean equal rights for women in terms of equality of opportunity in the fields of education and in the workplace, then I think most people would consider themselves feminist as would most (and I shudder to use this term) ‘right-thinking’ people when it comes to issues of rape, violence and objectification of women.

        The conundrum for modern feminists is that whilst one would be pushing it to describe out society as overtly patriarchal (and I don’t buy into the feminist’s constant rallying call of victim) actually we have a situation whereby women have less freedom and choice, not more.

        The expectation is that we will work regardless of whether or not we have families, something we have seen reinforced by Cameron’s penalising of stay at home mothers and the element of choice is removed. Women have little economic choice other than to bear fewer children, later in life.

        That is not equality or choice because to be an advocate of women’s rights recognises that women should not be compelled either to work or stay at home.

  2. It is so heartening to see. I’m 38 now, but for so many years I was one of the youngest people at pro-life vigils and meetings. It never felt odd though: in terms of eternal and transcendental matters, what is the difference between 77 and 27?

    Now I am surrounded by a sea of faces younger than me; intelligent, capable, responsible and competent young men and women. I almost feel extraneous.

    But let us never forget how much there is to be done: how many more hearts and minds to win, and the money, power and influence the abortion lobby has at its disposal.

    And just think: if almost fifty years after the 1967 Abortion Act, a new generation can see through the propaganda and lies, through the intellectual dishonesty and the shallow arguments, imagine what else might happen!

  3. whistlingsentinal: ‘controlling, chauvinistic and self-centred male instincts, which women’s liberation and empowerment was designed to overcome.’

    No, it wasn’t designed to overcome those things. It was designed to get women to adopt them for themselves.

    Chesterton said it a long time ago: feminists dislike feminine characteristics. The reality is that feminists want women to behave like men: to be competitive, aggressive, and promiscuous.

    Blondpidge: ‘That is not equality or choice because to be an advocate of women’s rights recognises that women should not be compelled either to work or stay at home.’

    I’m sorry, Caroline, that is not true. Here are some charming descriptions of housewives by feminists

    Graglia, pp121-122:
    Gloria Steinem: ‘housekeepers, or dependent creatures who are still children.’ ‘parasites’.
    Helen Gurley Brown: ‘a parasite, a dependent, a scrounger, a sponger, …a bum’.
    Nena and George O’Neill: her ‘horizons are inevitably limited by her relegation to domestic duties’ which ‘programs her for mediocrity and dulls her brain.’
    p104: Charlotte Perkins Gilman: ‘parasitic creatures’ ‘endless array of horse-leech’s daughters, crying ‘Give! Give!’ ‘ with ‘the aspirations of an affectionate guinea pig’.
    P106: Simone de Beauvoir: ‘A parasite sucking out the living strength from another organism.’

    Can you quote any prominent feminist saying that the vocation of a housewife is noble and fulfilling? Let’s see it.

    1. You do have a point. A certain Orwell prize short-listed blogger, whose name I shan’t mention, but who was implicit in instigating the harassment that I suffered, initially fell out with me, using those exact same words “parasite, whore” etc and describes SAHMs as ‘prostitutes, f**king their way out of poverty.’

      Quite a revealing attitude towards sex when you think about it…

  4. Ah, classic! The comparison of the housewife with a prostitute. The object is to degrade the status of the housewife to the point where no woman feels she can admit to being one. And they have succeeded. Even traditionalist Catholics avoid using the term, personally I think it is time it was rehabilitated, it sounds nicer than ‘SAHM’.

    How many women choose abortion because it is incompatible with the plans they’ve got for jobs and careers? Because it has been drilled into that counting paperclips in an office is fulfilling and educating the next generation and running a household is degrading drudgery.

    The scariest thing is to hear mothers talk about their guilt when they leave the care of their children to others. And then you look at what actually happens to children in child-care, and you realise that guilt may not be entirely misplaced:

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