Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life (PFL), in his speech June 30 at National Right to Life's Convention banquet, presented a probing analysis of some of the challenges facing the pro-life movement. "The goal you and I are working toward is not different from the goal our founding fathers had," Fr. Pavone pointed out. "As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, all we are saying to America is 'Be true to what you said on paper.' Our Declaration of Independence guarantees certain rights for all people and it is, as it were, a promissory note guaranteeing the freedom and rights and equality and lives of people of every generation throughout the time that this nation would exist ....
"For some reason, the bad check has come back on behalf of the unborn, but ...we refuse to believe there are insufficient funds in the bank of justice and equality in the nation. And we will draw from it," the pro-life priest declared.
Reminding listeners that the best defense against pro-abortion critics is to take the offense, Fr. Pavone discussed some advertising strategies that highlight the exploitation of women by abortion and the cases of women injured or killed in so-called "safe and legal" abortions.
A particular challenge pro-lifers face is getting the pro-life message to those who are not willing to hear it. "We have to get the message out there into the minds and ears of people who are absolutely trying to avoid it altogether," Fr. Pavone emphasized.
"If most or all of our activities depend on the voluntary consent of the audience we reach, then the audience we have to reach is not going to be reached because there aren't enough people in America right now that are willing to come to listen to a pro-life message in order to change this society around .... We have to get the message out there into the minds and ears of people who are absolutely trying to avoid it altogether," Fr. Pavone insisted.
"Critically important for the success of this movement," the PFL director declared, is "confronting an unwilling culture by exposing the evil that they want to ignore .... We must develop activities, strategies, outreaches that reach the unwilling audience."
Fr. Pavone, reflecting on the parable of the Good Samaritan, suggested the priest and Levite were focused on the dangerous road and the question, "If I stop and help that man, what will happen to me?" Pro-lifers may ask themselves on the abortion question: "What's going to happen to me if I preach or teach too loudly and clearly about the sanctity of life? What controversy, division, persecution am I going to have to face? What's going to happen to my church? ... What's going to happen to me if I speak about the unborn?" Fr. Pavone pointed out that the Good Samaritan reversed the question, asking "If I don't stop to help that man, what's going to happen to him?" Pro-lifers need to ask, "If I don't speak up for the unborn ...what's going to happen to them?"