Pro-Life Republicans Should Focus on Abortion Advocates, Not Each Other

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 30, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Candidates Should Focus on Abortion Advocates, Not Each Other Email this article
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by Laura Echevarria
November 30, 2007 Note: Laura Echevarria is a opinion columnist. She is the former Director of Media Relations and a spokesperson for the National Right to Life Committee and has been a radio announcer, freelance writer active in local politics.

When I was a spokesperson and the director of media relations for National Right to Life, a rule we followed when speaking to the press was to never criticize another pro-life group publicly. There were a few rare exceptions but for the most part we followed this rule to the letter because there were several reasons for doing so:

Criticism can quickly degenerate into name-calling and turn into a he said/she said or she said/she said (or a he said/. . .ah, you get the idea) situation. Even after it’s over and all those involved are friends again, the incident never dies.

In today’s world, the Internet, blogs, and 24-hour media coverage mean that criticisms will come back over and over again. They resurface when they are least wanted and when more important things are at stake.

Remember, come August 2008, a Republican candidate will be nominated. Our hope is that he will be pro-life and listen to what we have to say.

If some pro-life groups and representatives have been criticizing his supporters the whole year prior, the press will drag that out at every opportunity. How helpful is that?

Throw your support behind your favorite, play up his strong points but be careful criticizing other pro-life groups or your favorite’s fellow pro-life Republicans—one of them may end up as his running mate or he may end up as someone else’s running mate. And it’s very difficult to recant very public and very critical statements of a candidate, his supporters or his running mate.

Everyone forgets about the also-rans but as the election heats up they dig up everything they can about a candidate. Good grief, Bill Clinton’s underwear was a topic of discussion—enough said.

When other groups started in on NRLC over legislative priorities or, just like in the last two weeks, endorsements of political candidates, I used to think it had to be worse with the pro-abortion groups. It just had to be.

We have the truth on our side. Yet despite this, our human failings sometimes get in the way.

One thing always gave me comfort when others criticized my organization and sometimes even me personally since I was a spokesperson: it has to be worse among our opponents.

However, staffers at pro-abortion groups must be dancing with joy when we criticize each other.

If we’re giving each other a black eye, we’re not giving them one. Planned Parenthood, NARAL, National Abortion Federation, Catholics for a Free Choice—they and their colleagues in dozens of other groups probably feel like throwing a celebratory party every time we go at each other.

How does that feel knowing that we are making them feel better about themselves? That we are making them happy?

Criticizing other groups distracts us from our goal: saving lives. When we criticize another group or their spokespersons, we’re not talking about the issues. We’re not describing an abortion or talking about how many babies have died. We are not saving lives when we argue.

What we do is not about wealth, it’s not about politics, it’s about the mothers of unborn children, women who are hurting emotionally and physically from abortion. This is about the men who have seen fatherhood slip from their grasp because of abortion. This is about the medically dependent and disabled. It’s about the terminally ill and the elderly.

It’s about life.

Do I agree with the National Right to Life endorsement? I’m neutral at this time. As a writer on these issues, I don’t want to throw my hat in anyone’s ring. That said, about a month ago I made a $25 donation to the Huckabee campaign and I plan on donating to a couple of other campaigns.

I do know the likely reason why the NRLC endorsement was done and why it was done at this time—and I respect the organization’s decision and have no arguments against it.

It may seem like the 2008 election has been around since 1980 but we still have a whole year to go. My advice is to play nice, no hitting, no swearing and I’ll be on the computer writing should anyone get into a fight. Just in case, bandages can be found in the first aid kit in the pantry should anyone have need of one.