The pro-life movement is composed of a stunning number and variety of groups large and small, spanning all ages, professions, creeds, and practically every other designation we can name. Literally thousands of groups are active in the United States alone.
One of the reasons for this wide variety is that the goal of the pro-life movement is so basic and fundamental: the preservation of life itself. Because life itself is prior to any other rights or traits, no
matter how diverse they may be, it stands to reason that a cause that seeks to protect the right to life will find adherents across that wide and diverse spectrum of human interests. In this sense, the
presence of so many groups is a good and healthy sign.
Moreover, the pro-life movement does not arise because any religious or political leader calls it together. It arises from the depths of our humanity, and our natural instinct to protect our children. The movement forms around the kitchen tables and living rooms of America.
Leadership in the pro-life movement, as the two of us have been privileged to exercise for decades, needs to humbly respect that fact. Fostering unity in our movement does not mean demanding a
cookie-cutter conformity to particular methods or messages carefully crafted by PR firms.
The Left does this kind of thing as it tries to impose “equity” on society – that is, a sameness of outcomes rather than an equality of opportunity. This squelches creativity and initiative. If an
entrepreneur realizes that the fruits of his or her labor will belong to government and be equally distributed, or that positions in a company are being opened up because of skin color rather than
achievement, what incentive is there for the creativity and hard work that success requires?
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More conservative minds, however, advocate for ingenuity and free-market competition. Everyone has a chance, but where they end up depends on the hard work they do.
And unity in the movement means welcoming the fruits of that labor, and enabling groups to communicate with each other effectively, and combine efforts where possible, while respecting one
Over the years, we’ve been blessed to facilitate a number of special opportunities for such unity.
Back in 2010, we worked together to hold the Pro-life Freedom Rides, modeled on the Freedom Rides of the 20 th century Civil Rights Movement. We took busses to various communities in the South, and proclaimed the protection of the unborn as the civil rights movement of today. This energized especially the Black community, which is blessed to have many solid pro-life leaders.
We have also hosted pro-life retreats of various types. The “Come Aside and Rest a While” retreats that Msgr. Mike Mannion hosted for years were a pioneering effort in this arena. In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, Priests for Life hosted the “Chapel Hill” retreats at the ranch of Judge Bill Clark (close associate of Ronald Reagan). These were not strategy sessions, but rather prayerful encounters with the Lord and one another over the span of two days. Many relationships were healed and collaborative efforts encouraged by those gatherings.
In recent years we have hosted three-day strategy meetings of the Pro-life Leadership Coalition at our Priests for Life headquarters. We were together for one just last month, with some 43 national leaders, and I (Alveda) began with a prayerful reflection, using a verse I often quote from Acts 17:26, “ And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” As you can read in my book, We’re Not Colorblind, healing the racial divide does not mean closing our eyes to ethnic differences. On the contrary, unity means that we welcome that diversity to the same table of human dignity.
Going forward, we rejoice in the variety of other coalitions that help our movement – the Abortion Recovery Coalition, of which our Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More Ministries are a part together with many other healing ministries; our Vote Pro-life Coalition, helping citizens discern the most fundamental issues, and the various specialized meetings of pro-life attorneys, pregnancy center leaders, and much more.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters].” As the one blood human race of Acts 17:26, we must unite, for the victory of life from the womb to the tomb and beyond.
We end abortion when we help mom and dad to trust that the child is not an obstacle to their fulfillment. Rather, both child and parents find their fulfillment in giving themselves to each other in
The same is true among pro-life groups. Giving ourselves to each other in a dynamic trust and cooperation will overcome in us what we want pregnant mothers to overcome in their own minds and
hearts. Let’s be sure to give them the example.