60 Minutes and the Big Bad Pro-Lifers

Dr. Susan Wicklund is a tough-talking, determined abortionist. So determined that every day she flies 400 miles from her home in Minnesota to North Dakota to perform abortions. So it was a bit odd to see her portrayed on television as a victim. Appearing on 60 Minutes, Dr. Wicklund complained that she and her family were victims of harassment by pro-life activists. They call me a baby-killer, she complained. And the camera flashed to Leslie Stahl, the program's host, who was oozing sympathy for the poor abortionist. The program was just the latest example of a pro-abortion bias in the media. The Los Angeles Times says in recent months the media has stepped up its negative reporting on pro-life groups. The group in this case was one called Lambs for Christ. Its members block the entrance to abortion clinics; they practice passive resistance when arrested; they picket abortionists' homes. Lambs for Christ claims partial credit for having successfully closed all abortion clinics in North Dakota--except the one that Dr. Wicklund flies in to every day. Now, not all Christians are comfortable pursuing the aggressive tactics used by groups like Lambs for Christ. But what I find ironic is the way the media pillories these people. After all, other groups have used some of the same tactics--and they were praised for it. I remember the civil rights movement, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., pioneered non-violent protest methods. Before each march, his followers were taught what to do if arrested. They were told to go limp and passively resist arrest. They were also told to recite Bible verses out loud. Sound familiar? Yes, today's pro-life groups have simply taken a page out of the same book. The difference is that when Dr. King did it, he was portrayed as a hero. His followers were praised for their courage--and rightly so. When they were beaten by police and hauled away to jail, newspapers across the country screamed with indignation, as they should. But today--what a contrast. Pro-lifers using the same tactics with similar idealism are denounced as extremists. Obviously, what's at issue is not the tactics themselves. It's the ideology. The civil rights movement used protest methods for a cause that was popular in the media. The pro-life movement is using similar methods for a cause that is unpopular in the media. It's as simple as that. The heart of the issue came out in a fascinating moment in the 60 Minutes program when Leslie Stahl interviewed a couple who had traveled outside North Dakota to get an abortion. The husband was upset. He said, "It made us feel like we were doing something wrong." That's precisely the point, of course. Pro-lifers do believe abortion is wrong. And they're exercising their freedom of expression to tell people so. That's what pro-abortionists really object to. You see, it's not enough for them that abortion is legal in the U.S. They also want to silence moral disapproval of abortion. That explains why the media is trying to shift moral criticism over to pro-life groups, and trying to turn abortionists into innocent victims. Because they know the real battle is not over laws and statues. It's over America's sense of right and wrong.


Chuck Colson


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