The pro-life movement is extremely diverse. People of different ideologies, political parties, and belief systems care about preborn babies and work to protect them. Yet the media, which is often hostile to the pro-life message, tends to portray all pro-lifers as conservative and religious. Conservatives and religious people are vital members of the pro-life movement, of course, and they have done a great deal for the cause.
But because of the bias of the media, few in the public know that there are passionate pro-lifers who are feminists, secularists, and/or peace activists. There are numerous feminist groups that oppose abortion, and pro-peace (anti-war) groups that oppose all forms of violence, abortion included. If more people understood the diversity of the pro-life movement, they might stop seeing the pro-life cause as exclusively for conservative Christians. Too many people reject the pro-life message not because they have carefully considered it, but because they associate an anti-abortion stand with those who are religious and/or right wing. If they don’t fall into these categories, they believe the pro-life movement is not for them. The media, which seeks out and interviews mainly religious people and conservative politicians who are pro-life supporters, encourages this way of thinking.
The truth is, there is a pro-life group for just about everyone, from atheists and humanists to gays and lesbians. If more people knew this, maybe they would pay more attention to the pro-life message and evaluate it on its own terms. They would be unable to dismiss opposition to abortion as part of a “right-wing” or “Christian” belief system. The message would get out that one does not have to be a religious conservative to be pro-life.
To this end, the pro-life, pro-peace group Consistent Life has sponsored an online petition calling for the media to include interviews with nontraditional pro-life groups when covering the abortion issue. Rachel MacNair, who wrote the petition, says:
I remember when I first became active in the pro-life movement, having been active in the peace movement. I was startled to suddenly find cameras turning away to avoid recording me saying the same kind of anti-violence things I’ve always said, just because I was applying the points to protection of unborn children. Feminist points I had always made suddenly became ignored when I applied them to abortion as a wrong against women. Any of us who’ve been active in the pro-life movement a while know the frustration of journalists who are so enmeshed in the stereotype of what pro-lifers are supposed to be that they’re blind to the fact that they’re actually discriminating against women, and also against African Americans and Hispanics. People who’d never discriminate in any other context will do it to pro-lifers. So I think it’s high time we get several thousand people to sign the petition, and I encourage people to put in comments about their own experiences with press bias.
Consistent Life urges pro-lifers to sign the petition. Let’s send a message to news outlets encouraging them to show the diversity of the pro-life movement!