A lot of my time as an editor and writer is taken up with answering slurs against the pro-life cause. This is because so much of the media is run by anti-life people. Take the latest blast in Toronto’s Globe and Mail (Oct. 11) by Michele Landsberg against “fake abortion clinics.”
The piece is a diatribe using “facts” gleaned from the U.S. National Abortion Federation, liberally peppered with “quotes” from unnamed persons. The writing also wallows in judgmental terms like “sleazy,” “zealots,” “fanatics,” etc., to describe pro-lifers. But nowhere does Ms. Landsberg tell us what these “fake clinics” really do.
The article is aimed at the Pearson Foundation which operates in the United States. Their modus vivendi is to offer free pregnancy tests and (while waiting for the results) to show the client authentic films about abortion. The hope is that, after learning what an abortion entails, the prospective mother will decide not to go through with it.
Shocking? Hardly. What is wrong with knowing the facts? Would you advise a woman to have a hysterectomy without telling her what it entailed? Would you send a man to war without informing him about the cause?
Methods of procedure are another matter. Abortion clinics which advertise themselves as such but do not perform abortion incur the charge of “bogus.” Yet how serious is the charge? These “fake” clinics have a message to tell – a message which is increasingly difficult to put across in our biased media. That message is that abortion is the killing of live, sentient human beings, and not only killing but, killing in horrific circumstances, involving extreme pain to the unborn child. This no newspaper (other than The Interim) will print.
How, then, is the message to be put across? Pearson uses the device of advertising his information centers under the name of abortion clinics. Deceptive? Yes, but only in the same way that thousands of schools and colleges use come-on tactics when they advertise “careers” in industry, movies or journalism. We don’t know how many courses result in careers. In fact, the schools are more culpable, in that they take money from the client for their information – Pearson takes none from the public.
This is not to say I like the method. I accept it as a necessity of our time – which is a time that proclaims a Charter of Rights (but denies the rights of the unborn), a time that talks much about honesty (is it honest to counsel abortion without telling the facts?), a time that boasts of freedom of information (but suppresses information about the pro-life).
St. Paul spoke of himself as “ready to be all things to all men for Christ.” We, too must be prepared to do the same, if we truly believe that we are called upon to defend innocent life, which is now at the mercy of an ignorant and selfish generation.
I would like to add one thing. The use of come-on tactics is only permissible if the information given is accurate, and if the client is left free to make up her own mind afterward. With the Pearson Foundation, I believe this is the case.
A further caveat: money raised from public donations to operate such clinics should always be accountable, both in terms of how much actually goes into the operation of the clinics, and how successful are the results.