Sometimes, through no fault of its own, the New York Times has been known to stumble upon the truth. On pro-life issues, that’s generally the best we can hope for.
On 7 December 2008, the Times ran an op-ed by Ross Douthat called “Abortion Politics Didn’t Doom the G.O.P.” The pro-life movement, Douthat condescendingly concedes, was not completely responsible for John McCain’s defeat in the 2008 presidential election. Why? Because pro-lifers have finally decided to leave the Stone Age and get with the program.
According to Douthat, “compromise, rather than absolutism, has been the watchword of anti-abortion efforts for some time now. Since the early 1990s, advocates have focused on pushing largely modest state-level restrictions, from parental notification laws to waiting periods to bans on what we see as the grisliest forms of abortion.”
“The culture of (sometimes violent) protest that once defined the movement,” Douthat continues, “is largely a thing of the past . . . Over the same period, pro-lifers — especially in the evangelical community — have broadened their movement’s ambit, emphasizing poverty, the environment and other non-abortion ‘life issues’ more consistently than an earlier generation did. Leading pro-life figures like Rick Warren are more likely to be photographed touring poor nations alongside Bono than protesting outside abortion clinics.”
Yay! Good for us. We have been upgraded from crazed, clinic-bombing fundamentalists to well-meaning — if simple-minded — folk. We can even be mentioned in the same sentence as the Blessed Bono, icon of the Left.
Douthat may honestly think he’s doing us a favor, so it’s hard to get too angry with him. However, one must remember that a condescending pat on the head is really not any better than a slap in the face in the long run.
It was, after all, the NYT that caricatured the largest peaceful movement in American history as “violent” (at the same time that it aids and abets the 4,000 violent acts against unborn children each day!).
As far as compromising our pro-life principles, as Douthat suggests, we are having none of that. Passing a law that puts certain abortions off-limits is not a compromise. Real numbers of babies are being saved. And even the NYT is, if this article is any indication, beginning to sound a just little bit defensive.
Douthat pretends that our interest in poverty and “non-abortion ‘life issues’” is something new under the sun. Hardly. Why does he think that we came to this fight in the first place? The unborn are the poorest of the poor. A person is a person no matter how small, and pro-lifers love people. That’s why it’s important to us to save their lives.
The NYT is celebrating because they think that we’ve become a little more like them. But in wandering a little closer to the truth, they actually become a little more like us.