Last year, I had the opportunity—along with several other Heartbeat International staff members—to spend a day with friends from Alliance Defending Freedom, learning how to best interact with the national media.
In one exercise, we were each placed in front of a camera—as if we were on a national cable TV show—and asked several “gotcha” questions to see how we would best respond. For one who spends a lot of time in front of friendly audiences, this was a humbling experience.
Let’s just say, I gained a new appreciation for all of those who speak on behalf of life on television. It is a difficult job and one’s guard must be up at all times.
Last week, we saw what can happen when a national figure doesn’t understand (or care?) about this issue, with a leading candidate flipping his position on the sanctity of life several times in just a few days. In an interview with Chris Matthews of MSNBC, said candidate fumbled around and told Matthews that there must be “some form of punishment” for women who have abortions, a disastrous gaffe for anyone who claims to be pro-life.
After repeated struggles with the issue, the candidate appeared to give up on his earlier stance, telling CBS News’ John Dickerson that abortion laws should “stay the same.” Quite a change, huh?
In the same week, when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked another candidate about an exception regarding rape, he held firm without losing focus, saying, “And when it comes to rape, rape is a horrific crime against the humanity of a person and needs to be punished and punished severely but at the same time, as horrible as that crime is, I don’t believe it’s the child’s fault. And we weep at the crime. We want to do everything we can to prevent the crime on the front end and to punish the criminal, but I don’t believe it makes sense to blame the child.”
It was a difficult answer for a politician to give, knowing he may lose votes. Yet, the answer reminded viewers we are talking about a child. He would go on to say that in politics, the answers are best found at the ballot box—not in the courts—and that there would be give and take as voters come to a consensus. But he would not move from his original position that life begins at conception.
Tweet This: #abortion offers no choice. #prolife #pregnancyhelp does. @KirkWalden
The good news for all of us in the pregnancy help community? We’re not often called upon to speak in a national setting. But that doesn’t mean we won’t run into reporters—perhaps local scribes—searching for a shot at the “big time” who will try and throw us off of our message.
The message we offer is actually one of choice. The abortion industry never has and never will provide choice. As a matter of definition, they provide . . . abortion. Not choice. We need to make this clear to those who ask.
What do we do? We offer assistance for those who choose single parenting, for those who choose marriage, for those who choose co-parenting, for those who choose adoption; and yes, we provide assistance through post-abortion recovery initiatives (do they provide this at Planned Parenthood?) for those who choose abortion.
No matter the choice, we are prepared to assist. The one thing we do not provide is a procedure for which we would profit. Some pregnancy help centers however, now provide post-abortion exams to assist those perhaps wounded by abortion. You won’t see that at an abortion center, either.
Our message? If anyone is looking for a place where she can safely choose in a non-threatening, non-sales driven environment, her best option is us.
When we have opportunity, our local media outlets need to know this. We are the place of rest, and of hope.
I’m no political pundit and have no idea where the pro-life issue will land in the upcoming U.S. elections. But I do know this: Regardless of what happens in Washington, if those who need us most understand we are the place to find true choice, we are on our way to a victory larger than any politician can offer.