On Thursday, the New York Society for Ethical Culture will host a forum discussion on the subject "What's So Bad About Abortion?" The panelists are all representatives of women's reproductive rights groups, so it's likely all will agree that there may be a positive side to abortion. Meanwhile, the likelihood that Father Pavone of Priests for Life will be presenting an alternative view is remote, so the panelists can be expected to be preaching to the choir. They will also be preaching about the 2008 presidential election.
The scheduled agenda includes the following questions: Why is abortion such an important issue in electoral politics in the U.S.compared to Europe? What's so bad about abortion? Why do women need the right to abortion? Should we seek a middle ground? Which 2008 presidential candidates, if any, will defend the right to abortion?
News of this event was sent to me by a representative of Silent No More, an organization founded to educate the public that abortion is harmful emotionally, physically, and spiritually; to inform women who are hurting from an abortion that there is help, and to invite women to join together in speaking the truth about abortion's negative consequences.
This woman said she was considering attending the forum, but I believe it would be a total waste of time. I've come to the conclusion that no amount of testimony from women harmed by abortion will make an iota of difference to those advocating a woman's right to choose because abortion is a billion-dollar industry.
Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and other women's reproductive rights groups donate heavily to political campaigns. Ever wonder why those who formerly opposed abortion, such as Vice President Gore and the Reverend Jesse Jackson, switched positions? Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, who is a Catholic — but in name only — once had a zero-rating with NARAL but has since seen the light, or perhaps he recognizes where the influence exists. Governor Spitzer owed so much to NARAL when he ran for attorney general that the first thing he did after he was elected was to target the crisis pregnancy clinics that cut into the abortion providers' business.
Groups that oppose abortion depend on donations from individuals and grassroots organizations and simply can't compete on the same financial level. While the National Rifle Association is demonized as a powerful lobby, Planned Parenthood flies under the radar of journalistic criticism and gets government funding as well.
Recently, I watched "Factory Girl," a well-acted but dreadful film about one of Andy Warhol's pathetic entourage, Edie Sedgwick. I was struck by a comment made by one of the characters, Billy Quinn. He was very loosely based on Bob Dylan, who may have inspired the line that art is more important than politics in that it could change the hearts and minds of people. The moment Harriet Beecher Stowe picked up her pen, slavery in America was doomed. When it comes to abortion, however, the truth of what it actually involves is usually hidden from the masses. It's rarely depicted on the screens. Political commercials showing the procedure are censored so the public is shielded from the horrific carnage enacted on the human fetus.
Most Hollywood films are sympathetic to the plight of women and teenagers caught in unwanted pregnancies. The abortion providers are saintly figures such as Michael Caine in "The Cider House Rules," for which he won an Academy Award in 1999. When a film comes along that might stir some misgiving about the loss of values in our society it's met with resistance, and this might explain why "Bella" the film that won the top prize in last year's Toronto film festival, hasn't found a distributor in New York City.
The film can only be seen at special screenings but word of mouth spread on Internet is most compelling. What is interesting is that "Bella" is produced by Metanoia Films, a company co-founded by the film's star, Eduardo Verastegui, a former Mexican soap opera star who's dedicated his talents to producing projects that inspire. Imagine that — a studio dedicated to worthwhile, decent entertainment that respects traditional family values. That must mean it's dangerous, right?
Meanwhile the abortion-rights propaganda mill rolls on. More "What's So Bad About Abortion" forums will be scheduled and T-shirts declaring "I Had an Abortion" will be hawked by Planned Parenthood and others to minimize the fact that abortion stops a beating human heart.
[The Silent No More Awareness Campaign is a project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life. The Campaign produced a brochure, "What's So Bad About Abortion," in response to this conference]