By Fletcher Armstrong
Now that the vote is in, there are important lessons to be learned, not just in Tennessee, but nationally as well.
1. Until we change public opinion, Amendment 1 (along with the anticipated ensuing regulations) are about as much as we can hope to accomplish with our current strategy. An outright ban would not have passed.
— Voters believe that abortion is evil enough to be regulated, but not evil enough to be banned. Americans will not tolerate government intrusion into matters of personal morality, unless there is extreme justification for that intrusion … and they don’t understand how extremely evil abortion really is.
2. For the public to demand protection for every human person, we have to convince millions of American voters that abortion is not just evil, but so evil that it ought to be against the law.
— The National Right to Life Committee along with NRLC affiliates and others in the movement, are trying to end abortion by mobilizing public opinion as it currently exists. The results of Amendment 1 in Tennessee and initiatives in other states demonstrate that this will never work.
— Unfortunately, they have nothing in place that even begins to reshape public opinion, not at the level necessary to challenge the status quo.
3. To reshape public opinion, we must force millions of ignorant and apathetic Americans to see the facts they are desperate to avoid.
— They are apathetic because they are ignorant of the facts, and …
— … They are ignorant because they are apathetic.
— They don’t read our stuff. They don’t come to our talks and debates. They avoid new information.
— We have to go to them, they will not come to us. Our methods must be non-consensual.
— With the average American, we get maybe 3 seconds to prove that abortion is so evil that it ought to be against the law.
— This is the same problem faced by Wilberforce, Clarkson, King, Hine, and other reformers who came before. They all solved the problem the same way … by using horrifying pictures to engage citizens who were desperate to avoid the truth … after years of trying what didn’t work.
4. We have a long way to go. Let’s get started.