In the past few years, a small movement of mostly young women who identify themselves as “pro-life feminists” have been getting media attention for their efforts to shift the messaging of opponents of abortion rights away from criminalizing abortion and toward “sidewalk counseling” in front of abortion clinics, supporting anti-abortion “pregnancy resource centers” and reducing the demand for abortion through liberal social programs.
This has not been sitting well with some of the old guard of the abortion “rescue” movement, including Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman and Life Dynamics’ Mark Crutcher, who spent an episode of Crutcher’s “LifeTalkTV” webcast last fall railing against those in the movement who Newman said had “fallen into a lie that somehow we’re going to end abortion with feminism or singing Kumbaya or happy thoughts.”
In that program, Crutcher rejected the idea of turning the movement over to this new generation of activists, saying, “if we turn this movement over to them, I think they will implode it.”
“Don’t you see it, Troy, as more evidence that we’re winning that Satan is now using these grandstanders and these millennials to attack the pro-life movement because the pro-abortion movement can’t beat us?” Crutcher asked.
The antipathy has clearly not died down, as today Newman and Crutcher published a massive, 3,000 word screed against the “subversives who have invaded the pro-life movement” and calling for the “purging” of various “cancers” that threaten to “emasculate” the movement and bring it down from within.
Crutcher and Newman start out by warning that while they support crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), they can’t be a “substitute” for criminalizing abortion, comparing the centers to stations on the Underground Railroad that delivered individuals from slavery but did not end the institution.
They lament the state of the “low-information” and “easily swayed” millennial anti-abortion activists, warning, “we cannot pass the baton to this next generation until we have made certain they fully recognize what’s at stake. This is not a game, it is a life and death struggle. No one gets a participation trophy and there is no such thing as a moral victory. There is winning and there is losing. That’s it.”
Then Crutcher and Newman get into their specific grievances against “grandstanders,” “neofems” (whose “overriding loyalty is to feminism”) and “the oblivious” (who are “frighteningly ignorant of the issues surrounding abortion or the history of the battle to end it”). Finally, they call out the “defectors,” an increasingly prominent group within the anti-choice movement of former abortion clinic workers. Placing a “defector” in a position of leadership in the movement, they write, is “idiocy” akin making a defector from ISIS or Al-Qaeda secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Crutcher is fond of using military metaphors to describe the battle against abortion rights, so naturally, after laying out the players, he and Newman offer an “internal sabotage threat assessment,” concluding that while grandstanders will “eventually flame out,” the “Neofems, the Oblivious, and the Defectors (NODs) are another story, and a much more dangerous one” and must be exposed and purged from the movement.
Their “final analysis”:
By their nature, internal subversives present a classic “good news / bad news” scenario. The bad news is that, when undetected, they can destroy any entity in which they are found. The good news is, the instant they are exposed, their power begins to evaporate. In this case, the Grandstanders and the NODs cannot survive within an informed pro-life community. That makes our course of action obvious, but to carry it out we have to acknowledge five realities.
First, what the Grandstanders and NODs are attempting is a hostile takeover of the pro-life movement and, regardless of what they claim, a significant percentage of them are not pro-life. Grandstanders are not trying to save babies they’re trying to save themselves, and NODs are attempting to emasculate the pro-life movement so they can convert it into a social service agency. If either group accomplishes their objective, any meaningful effort to legally protect the unborn and their moms will be over.
Second, we must demonstrate the will and the discipline to expose any individual or organization within the movement whose actions and/or rhetoric indicate that defending the absolute right-to-life of the unborn is not their sole mission. Remember, this is not a war between the pro-abortion forces and the pro-life forces. It is a war between the pro-abortion forces and the unborn. Given that reality, we cannot allow this conflict to be ruled by personalities or by who seems to be a nice person and who doesn’t. The stakes are too high.
Third, those of us in the current pro-life movement have to accept some responsibility for the environment that gave rise to these subversives. There have been times when we became so caught up in the day-to-day conduct of the battle that we lost sight of what the battle is about, and that opened the door for Grandstanders and NODs to creep in. To prevent that in the future, we need to routinely stop and remember our commitment to the principle that human life begins at the moment of fertilization and that the life of every unborn child – under all circumstances and at every stage of development – is entitled to the same legal protections as every other living human being. The moment that ceases to animate everything we do, we become part of the problem.
Fourth, our failure to educate and equip the new people coming into the movement has made them sitting ducks for both the abortion lobby and the subversives who have invaded the pro-life movement. As stated earlier, our efforts to correct this situation must begin immediately. Otherwise, the influence of the Grandstanders and NODs on this next generation – combined with the abortion lobby’s campus campaign – will devastate the pro-life effort.
Finally, we must recognize that purging the movement of the cancers outlined in this report is not just our right – it is our duty. If the current leadership of the pro-life movement leaves these problems for the next generation to solve, history will one day look back and say that we presided over the beginning of its end.
The question each of us must ask ourselves is, did we really come all this way over all these years, to end up with that on our headstones?