I. The Speaker's Bureau
[The following material is presented here, with
permission, from the Center for Bioethical Reform. Priests for Life is grateful
to the authors, Gregg Cunningham and Scott Klusendorf.]
* Why Speakers'
* The Public's
Understanding of Abortion
* What our Message Should
* Speaking Goals for Each
I. Why Speakers' Bureaus Fail
A. They exist
They are reactive rather than proactive
They lack a clearly defined strategy
Participants do not want to assume personal responsibility for organizing them
A. Speakers' bureaus fail because they exist in isolation
1. The speakers' bureau needs to be designed to enhance the effectiveness
of everything else that we are doing within the context of a larger strategic
plan for pro-life activism.
2. We must ask, for example, how the work of the speakers' bureau can enhance
the effectiveness of church conversion, CPC work, fund raising, staff
recruitment, etc. Synergy occurs when each project undertaken reinforces
the effectiveness of every other project we are doing so that the whole of a
long term strategic plan is greater than the sum of its parts.
3. Instead of random bands of individuals conducting ad hoc projects (with
nobody knowing what everyone else is doing), we need a "team" mentality where we
are more concerned with how everyone else is doing than we are with how we are
B. Speakers' bureaus fail
because they are reactive rather than proactive
1. Most speakers' bureaus operate like the Maytag repair man: they sit
back and wait for requests for their services rather than looking for
opportunities. We need to understand that the American public generally does not
want to think about this issue. They want it to just go away.
2. Furthermore, the leaders of the organizations to which we need to deliver our
message know that their organizations are filled with people who will grill them
for letting us come speak. Many of their people have been personally involved in
an abortion decision. They do not want to hear that abortion kills a baby.
As a consequence, we are living in a dream world if we think these leaders are
going to call us up and say, "Could you come over and show a video that will
make everyone angry at me for inviting you to come?" Unless these leaders are
heart broken over abortion, they will seldom invite the persecution your
presentation will bring.
3. We need to decide where we must take our message and develop an aggressive
plan for gaining access to those forums.
C. Speakers' bureaus fail because they
lack a clearly defined strategy
The first job of the speakers' bureau is to develop a plan for getting
our message into every organization in a given service area:
* Develop an exhaustive list of all organizations that can provide a forum
into which we can take our message. Divide these organizations into the
following two categories:
Secular: Service organizations (Rotary, Moose, VFW, etc.), high
schools, middle schools, law schools, medical schools, colleges, etc.
Sectarian: Pastors' luncheons, ministerial associations, Sunday school
classes, prayer groups, home Bible study fellowships, Christian Businessmen's
associations, Bible colleges, seminaries, Christian schools, etc.
* Rank order these organizations by asking:
How large are they?
How friendly are they?
* Go after large friendly groups first. They are the easiest to access
and are the most responsive to appeals for money and manpower.
* Identify the leaders of each organization and develop a plan for
converting them to the pro-life position (as a means of securing access to their
D. Speakers' bureaus fail because
participants do not want to assume personal responsibility for organizing them
1.If you are not willing to change your life to stop the killing, do not
expect the American public to take you seriously. The measure of how much we
care about this holocaust will not be found in the piety of our rhetoric, but in
what we are willing to sacrifice personally to stop the killing.
2. We need people who are willing to work organizing the speakers' bureau so
that it can function effectively within the context of a long term strategic
plan. This requires hard, tedious work that many pro-lifers are unwilling to do.
The speakers' bureau also needs at least one full time staff person coordinating
3. Most people come to speaker training seminars wanting to pick up a few
gimmicks rather than assuming personal responsibility for organizing a speakers'
bureau. Most want somebody else to do the hard foundational work. They want to
show up and speak when their schedule will allow it rather than sacrificing
personally to stop the killing.
4. To be effective, the speakers' bureau must be highly organized and highly
visible. That can't happen without at least one full time staff person and a
host of volunteers willing to do miserable, tedious work.
There are more people working full time to kill babies than there are working
full time to save them. That's because killing babies is very profitable while
saving them is very costly. So costly, in fact, that large numbers of Christians
who say they believe that abortion kills babies are willing to do just enough to
salve the conscience but not enough to stop the killing.
II. Where the American Public Is On
A. The word
"abortion" has lost all meaning to most Americans
The American public does not have a coherent position on abortion
A. The word "
abortion " has lost all meaning to most Americans
1. Most envision a rather innocuous, benign procedure carried out under
sanitized conditions. Until you level the playing field, you may as well be
talking about stock options.
2. The only way to level the playing field is to let people see
abortion. That can't happen without the use of graphic visual aids.
3. We communicate the truth about abortion in two ways:
* Visually to break hearts and change how people feel about
* Cognitively (using facts and arguments) to change how people think
Both methods are vitally important. Visual communication requires the use of
graphic aids; cognitive communication requires the use of good documentation in
conjunction with hard hitting facts and arguments. You must first change how
people feel before you can change how they think.
4. Very few pro-life speakers carry good documentation to back up what they
say. Your audience does not care what your opinions are, they want to know the
facts. Holding up physical documents is a powerful way to crush your opponents.
If abortion advocates can achieve confusion, the status quo will be preserved
(the status quo is that any woman can kill any baby at any point in the
pregnancy for any reason or no reason). Their goal is confusion. Our goal is
clarification. We need good documentation to unmask pro-abortion lies.
B. The American public does not have a
coherent position on abortion.
1. Americans by and large do not have the analytical thinking skills their
forefathers did. As Neil Postman points out in his book Amusing Ourselves to
Death, America has shifted from a print based culture (with an emphasis on
critical thinking skills) to an image based culture (with an emphasis on
experience, feeling, etc.). 130 years ago, crowds stood for hours in terrible
weather listening to Lincoln and Douglas debate slavery. The speech style of
both men was philosophical and learned. Today, it's hard to get people to listen
to a 20 minute sermon at church. Hence, it's little wonder that most Americans
have not taken the time to think through a consistent position on abortion.
2. A nationwide survey on abortion commissioned by Dr. Jack Willke of Life
Issues ("Marginals and Persuadables"), confirmed that Americans hold completely
contradictory and schizophrenic positions on the issue:
* 65% oppose public funding of abortion--but:
* 53% disagree with the so called "gag rule"
* 65% think no one should tell a woman what to do with her body--but:
*79% support some restrictions on abortion/ 78% say father should have some
rights in a decision to abort
* 60% say abortion is morally wrong--but:
* 60% say only the woman should decide the issue.
* 73% say a fetus is a baby and killing it is wrong at any stage-- but:
* 65% say no one should tell the woman what to do with her body
* 73% favor more attention to the rights of the unborn-but:
* 65% say no one should tell a woman what to do
* 47% say abortion = ultimate form of child abuse--but:
*70% want abortion legal to protect women from back alley abortions
* 77% agree there are too many abortions, but:
* 70% would keep abortion legal
* 45% want the states to decide their own laws on abortion, but:
* 41% want federal law to decide the issue
Other key findings from the Willke study:
* 90% disapprove of abortion when used as birth control
* 40% felt angry when presenter shows pictures of fetus
* 44% say abortion is less painful than adoption
* 48% want the abortion debate to just go away
* 78% are bothered by a perceived pro-life opposition to birth control
* 59% believe pro-life presentations should be more scientific and less
On a scale of believability:
71% say woman who had an abortion and regrets it is most believable
48% believe a religious figure most believable
56% find Planned Parenthood believable
47% find doctors not doing abortions believable
3. In short, the American public does not know the facts about abortion, has
no coherent position on the issue, and wants the problem to just go away.
III. What our Messages Should Be
A. Abortion kills
Abortion abuses women
is a sin
Abortion is a civil rights issue
1. It is critically important that we establish the humanity of the unborn
child and the inhumanity of the abortion act.
A. Abortion kills babies.
2. Use graphic visual aids to accomplish the former, hard hitting (and well
documented) facts and arguments the latter.
B. Abortion abuses women.
1. Some women will kill their babies even if we establish the humanity of
the unborn child and the inhumanity of the abortion act. But we may deter them
if we can demonstrate convincingly that abortion is not in their own
2. Twenty five peer reviewed studies now link abortion to breast cancer.
According to a 1994 study by the National Cancer Institute (Journal of the
National Cancer Institute, Nov. 2, 1994), women under the age of 18 who
abort at eight weeks gestation or beyond are 150% more likely to contract breast
cancer by age 43 than those who do not abort. (Only 13% of all breast cancers
manifest by that age.) When asked by Time magazine (Nov. 7, 1994 p.61)
why they buried this fact in a footnote attached to the study, the pro-abortion
researchers who analyzed the results said "we didn't want to alarm anyone." (Try
this: "We'll let women get breast cancer so we don't have to alarm them.") [See
3. A 1989 laparoscope study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics
and Gynecology (8/89) found that uterine perforations from first trimester
suction abortions happen seven times more often than previously thought. [See
4. The list of contraindications for the drug RU 486 is a mile long
(contraindications = conditions under which the drug is not safe for use). [See
p. 198] In their book, RU 486: Misconceptions, Myths and Morals,
pro-abortion researchers Janice Raymond et al list the following
contraindications for the drug:
* Women under the age of 18 or older than 35
* Women with a history of menstrual irregularities
* Women with a history of cervical incompetence
* Women who have used an IUD/pill in last 3 months
* Women with allergy or asthma problems
* Women who have suffered from epilepsy
* Women with a history of gastrointestinal problems
* Women who have used steroids in the past 12 months
* Women who suffer from obesity
* Women who are smokers
* Women with pulmonary problems
* Women with kidney disease
* Women with a previous abortion history
* Women w/ past/current history of abnormal pregnancy
5. Complications associated with the drug RU 486: [See pp. 196-206]
* Severe pain / nausea
* Exceptionally heavy bleeding/cramping
* Incomplete abortion
* Long, drawn out process (up to two weeks)
* Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
"We are talking about a non-private, extensively medicalized and complicated
abortion method" (Raymond, et al p.29) [See p.201]
Abortion abuses women not because we say that it abuses women, but because
abortion advocates say it abuses women.
C. Abortion is a sin.
1. Scripture condemns the taking of human life without justification (Ex.
23:7, Prov.6:16-17, etc.). And since the Bible clearly establishes the humanity
of the unborn child (Psalm 139:13-16, Job 3:3, Jer. 1:5, Gal. 1: 15, etc.), we
can logically infer that abortion-on-demand cannot be morally permissible. (See
pp. 26- 38 of this manual)
2. The problem is that abortion is not clearly understood as sin. If it were,
people who claim the name of Christ would not be killing babies at a rate
approximate to that of the world (See Newsweek 5/1/89).
D. Abortion is a civil rights issue.
1. In one sense, the abortion debate is nothing new. It's the
continuation of a long standing debate Americans have had for 200 years over the
question, "How will we define legal personhood? [see 187-95] Will we define it
in terms that include unborn children or in terms that exclude them because they
stand in the way of something we want?"
2. We must remind our audiences that we Americans have a long history of
defining out of existence people who stand in the way of something we want. We
did it with African Americans because we wanted their labor. We did it with
Native Americans because we wanted their land, etc. Now we do it with unborn
babies because we don't want to make the difficult lifestyle sacrifices that
IV. Speaking Goals For Each Audience
Convert neutrals to our view
1. We may not convert them, but we can take the wind out of
their sails. We can rob them of their confidence and perhaps expose them to a
more positive image of the pro-life movement.
A. Neutralize abortion advocates
2. You use graphic visual aids (Harder Truth) to neutralize abortion
advocates; you use hard hitting facts and arguments to undermine their cocksure
B. Convert neutrals to our view
1. Numerous surveys establish the proposition that roughly 20% of the American
people are solidly pro-life while 20% are solidly pro-abortion. The remaining
60% are in the mushy middle and unless we can force them out of there, the
status quo will be preserved. The status quo is that any woman can kill any baby
at any point in the pregnancy for any reason or no reason.
2. We can't change this unless we polarize people. This is an especially
distasteful process because it involves confrontation which is an anathema to
C. Activate converts
1. We must move those receptive to our message from attitudinal opposition
to abortion to behavioral opposition to abortion. We do this by creating a sense
of outrage that in turn inspires sacrificial changes in behavior.
2.It is nearly impossible to create a sense of outrage without using graphic
visual aids. You must break your listeners' hearts on abortion before you can
expect them to make sacrificial changes in the way they are living.
D. Direct activists
1. Help committed pro-life activists work smarter.
2. Help committed pro-life activists integrate their efforts into a larger
We must tailor our message to fit each group in our service area. We need to
* What group will we be speaking to?
* What goal should we have for this particular group?
* What message should we deliver to this group?
* What speaker is best qualified to deliver that message?
* What follow up is needed for this group?
Critical questions of this sort demand careful thinking by a full time staff
person capable of coordinating all public education projects.
Strategic Planning Resources Available from CBR
* "No More Excuses" seminar video series w/ workbook $65
* "No More Excuses" cassette tape series $20 (w/ workbook $25)
Contact CBR to order all CBR products
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