EDITORIAL

Abortion, Apathy, and Amnesia

By Dave Andrusko

As I write these remarks it is mid-morning on Wednesday, February 3, the day after pro-abortion Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry carried three states and two caucuses in the hunt for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination. Pro-abortion Sen. John Edwards (NC) prevailed in South Carolina and pro-abortion retired General Wesley Clark won a squeaker over Edwards in Oklahoma.

Although it is still far too early to be coronating Kerry, already there are "matchups" that pit the junior senator against pro-life President George W. Bush. By the time you receive this edition of National Right to Life News, the Democrats may have all but officially chosen their nominee, even though the coronation isn't until July 26-29 in Boston, or be in the midst of a prolonged struggle.

I mention this only by way of reminding myself and you that we oughtn't to get caught up in the admittedly exciting up-and-down fortunes of the Democratic presidential candidates. It'll all sort itself out soon enough.

What counts is that President Bush's November opponent - - whether it be Senators Kerry or Edwards, or former Vermont Gov. Dean, or Clark - - will be militantly pro-abortion. What matters is that he will kowtow to the NARALs and the Planned Parenthoods and will toe their line no matter how many miles past where the American public is that line is drawn.

On page 15, you'll read all about the commemorative activities that drew tens of thousands of pro-lifers to rallies in locales all over this great nation. What struck many people who e-mailed me was that while coverage of local events was uneven (to put it mildly), there was almost a complete media blackout of the enormous gathering here in the nation's capitol.

To paraphrase an old saying, if 100,000 or so pro-lifers march down Constitution Avenue and the media doesn't "hear" them, does that mean they made no sound - - that they weren't really there?

I bring this up for a couple of reasons. First, there was nothing, nada, ahead of time from the Washington Post - - no touching profiles of courageous individuals, no directions/maps explaining where people would be meeting, no think pieces about "what it all means" - - no "buzz" whatsoever.

Guess who's coming to town April 25? The "March for Women's Lives." Care to wager how similar the pre-, during-, and post-march coverage it receives will be to what the Post gave pro-lifers?

I bring this up not to complain - - what good would that do? - - but to observe that there were genuine reasons reporters ought to have given this tremendous throng more than the back of their collective hand. For starters, there were pro-lifers everywhere!

Whether they like, hate, or could care less about us, that's news, folks. More so when the President addresses the March. Still more so when the 31st annual March comes only a couple of months after passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, an historic moment by any reckoning. And even more so when the March takes place a little over nine months before we elect our President, who may well appoint as many as three or four Supreme Court justices.

Whoops, I forget, there was an exception. We did a "Today's News & Views" on the coverage found on ABCNews.com's Web site. It didn't ignore the abortion issue, it just ran a story about a terrorist-wannabe who calls himself pro-life.

National Right to Life and its state affiliates and chapters have repeatedly told the media that we are unalterably opposed to violence. That was not mentioned. Oh well.

But the real news was not the size of the March, the great speeches delivered, or the unexpectedly balmy weather. The real significance could be found in the composition of the marchers.

Each year it resembles more and more a high school pep fest. Once upon a time there was a sizable contingent of high schoolers and college students. Now, they - - and their energy and their enthusiasm and their dedication - - predominate.

I was unable to attend, but I read in the Catholic Standard about a huge Youth Rally for Life and Mass that took place prior to the March at the MCI Center, the sports arena that is home to the local professional basketball and hockey teams. As the photo on page seventeen indicates, there were upwards of 17,000 youngsters who crammed into the MCI Center to stand up for life, along with 700 seminarians and hundreds of young religious.

In his homily, Fr. Robert Panke told the young congregants a profound truth, one that we know in our bones: "You are the pro-life movement now."

When I read excerpts of Fr. Panke's homily, I immediately thought back to the inane responses NARAL President Kate Michelman gave to questions following her umpteenth speech to the National Press Club. Michelman was asked, if memory serves me right, if NARAL wasn't running "upstream" against the tide of public opinion and weren't young people, including women, becoming less "pro-choice"?

Michelman's defensive answer attributed everything to apathy and amnesia. "Pro-choicers" only get in trouble when they lose enthusiasm and when they forget how bad it was in the bad old days, she explained.

But what Michelman, who is committed fervently to the ideology of choice, can't see is that young people are choosing! But it's not her choice that they are making.

Unlike many of their baby boomer parents, they do not swoon to NARAL's and Planned Parenthood's tired mantra. Nor are they blind to the damage "safe, legal abortion" has wreaked on countless of their friends and relatives. And they are not deaf to cries for justice for the littlest Americans.

The next nine months will be filled with challenges, some of which we can anticipate, most of which we cannot. As always, the answer (to borrow from the Boy Scouts) is to be prepared.

National Right to Life stands ready to help you in every way it can, starting with NRL News and "Today's News & Views," found at www.nrlc.org. Together, there is nothing we can't ultimately win for unborn children and the medically dependent elderly.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Dave Andrusko can be reached at daveandrusko@hotmail.com