SD Legislation a Watershed Moment in the Pro-life Movement

Operation Rescue President Invites Debate, Not Compromise

By Troy Newman

The introduction of a less-than-perfect abortion ban bill in South Dakota has the pro-life movement astir; as it should. As President of Operation Rescue, I’d like to spur discussion on the issue of tactics without the vitriol we have experienced in the last 24 hours.

Right out of the gate, let me say that Operation Rescue is pro-life without compromise and without exception. Children from the moment of fertilization ought to be afforded protection and awarded the same basic human rights as you and I. We work tirelessly toward that end.

But there is a stark contrast between theory and reality. In theory electricity flows through wire without resistance, but in reality wire gages must increase proportional to the current flow. In theory, George W. Bush is a fiscal conservative; in reality he is spending the USA into bankruptcy. In theory Clinton did not have sex with Monica, but in reality well, you get the picture.

So when it comes to theory, or ideology, I am 100% pro-life and I agree with all the think tanks who “theorize” on how the perfect abortion ban should be written. Unfortunately theory is considerably different than reality.

South Dakota is a case in point. That state passed a nearly perfect abortion ban law in 2006. We worked hard to support it. Unfortunately it was defeated through a ballot referendum last November. The exit polling data (along with the Planned Parenthood rhetoric) said the only abortion ban that would pass the electorate would be one that contained “exceptions” for rape and incest.

Before I lose half my readers, hold on and read the rest of the article.

The theory (and utmost desire) of the pro-life movement is to save 100% of all abortion-bound babies. This was soundly defeated. But realistically, we could save 99% of the babies who are “headed for the slaughter” by passing an “imperfect” ban bill. While we can’t save them all, we can save the vast majority. If it is within our ability to save even ONE innocent life unjustly scheduled for death, we are morally obligated to do it.

Some pundits wronging hypothesize that what I am endorsing is akin to lining up ten uncondemned people, and then choosing which ones I will murder. This is, as my friend Randy says, “Stinkin’ thinkin’” and turns logic and reality on its ear.

A better analogy that is closer to the reality of the situation is that we have a hypothetical ten people who are all condemned to an unjust death, and I do everything I can do to save as many as possible.

To put it in WWII lingo, if I were Oscar Schindler, rescuing 100 Jews from Auschwitz, I would not be responsible for condemning the millions of Jews I didn’t save. They had already been condemned by the Nazis.

If circumstances remain unchanged, there will be about 1.3 million babies murdered this year by abortion. The US Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton have already condemned them. Yet the pro-life movement will attempt to save some of them through education, counseling, and legislation. But just because we can’t save them all, it doesn’t mean we killed the ones we couldn’t save.

If the South Dakota legislation passes and is enacted without legal challenge, it would statistically save about 870 babies a year, while failing to protect one baby every four years. I view this as a win, a victory, and certainly a life-affirming law for the 870 babies who will be protected from the butcher’s knife year after year after year.

Therefore, when well-intentioned pro-lifers oppose an imperfect piece of legislation, they need to be careful on what side of the aisle they stand. Planned Parenthood and the abortion cartel, (no matter what their November rhetoric was), will strictly oppose a limited ban on abortions. Will good-hearted pro-lifers side with the abortionist because their “perfect bill” can’t be passed?

Again, our philosophical position is to save every baby. But as a realist, we know that is impossible under the current circumstances. If those we can save, we should. As our mission statement says, “We are here to rescue the baby sentenced to die today.” That baby does not have time to wait for perfect legislation.

This discussion represents a defining moment in the pro-life movement. Never before have so many states attempted to ban abortions. In 34 years we have never faced the reality of an “abortion free state” or the practical aspects of making that happen. As the pro-life movement engages in the discussion of this kind of groundbreaking legislation, we must remember that our common enemy is the abortion cartel, not each other. We will always endeavor to rescue every baby destined to die that we possibly can, but we should not allow the theoretically perfect to be the enemy of the realistic good.