The election season is in high gear, and it is my personal priority between now and November 6 to educate and mobilize as many voters as possible to make a difference in the voting booth for the protection of our unborn brothers and sisters. Our family of ministries at Priests for Life is busy publicizing our Election Prayer Novena for Life, that starts on September 4 (prayercampaign.org), mobilizing non-partisan voter registration drives for our National Voter Registration Sunday this September 9 (politicalresponsibility.com), and preparing teams of people to distribute our non-partisan voter guides on the streets of their cities. We urge citizens to inform themselves by watching the conventions and the debates.
But I’m particularly excited about the project by which we will challenge candidates and voters alike to bring the tragedy of abortion to the center of their election decisions. The teachings of the Holy Father and of the bishops constantly point out that not all moral and life issues are equal. “Abortion necessarily plays a central role,” the bishops state (A Campaign In Support of Life, 2001).
Yet it is not because the bishops teach it that we declare the centrality of abortion. It’s simply because of what it is. It is not looking at a Church document that convinces us of the urgency of ending abortion. It’s simply looking at abortion.
That is why we have launched a simple campaign called “Is this what you mean?” (See www.priestsforlife.org/IsThisWhatYouMean). This project aims to reveal the nature of the abortion procedure to the public, and challenge public officials, candidates, and others who support the legality of abortion to admit what abortion is.
The project makes use of the words of the abortionists themselves. In medical textbooks like Abortion Practice by Warren Hern, for instance, we see the procedure described as “decapitation” and “dismemberment.” Quoting these words, we simply ask abortion supporters, “When you say the word ‘abortion,’ is this what you mean?” What the abortion supporter says in response does not matter. The goal is accomplished: what that person stands for has been revealed, both to that person and to all who listen.
Let’s press the question; let’s raise the challenge. If a public official, or one seeking public office, has a position on abortion, one should expect that he or she knows what the word means. If they expect public policy to permit abortion, or taxpayers to fund it, they should certainly be willing to describe what it is.
Because the words used are those of the abortionists themselves, we do not have to worry about coming up with clever arguments of our own. And because the project simply asks what they mean by the word, the burden is on those we challenge, not on us, to give a response.
Along with the quotes, we use diagrams of the abortion procedure, as well as the gruesome photos of what an abortion is. We are backing this up with a series of powerful videos, which you can see at Unborn.info.