Randy Alcorn, author of the best selling ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments, talks about the future of the prolife movement and the teenager’s place in it.
How did you get involved in the prolife movement?
Sixteen years ago I started a church with another pastor. After five years or so, I started developing a real interest in the prolife movement. What really got me involved in it was being asked to represent the churches on the board of a new Crisis Pregnancy Center opening during that time. We also opened up our home to a pregnant 18-year-old girl. She had had an abortion before, but this time gave her child up for adoption. Then we had the joy of seeing her give her heart to Jesus. This experience solidified my thinking of what a vital ministry this was and its spiritual potential—really touching people for eternity.
You’ve had to make tremendous sacrifices because of your defense of the unborn. Tell me about that.
Five years ago I got involved in rescuing—peaceful civil disobedience at abortion clinics. I was involved in nine rescues here in Portland and was arrested five times or so, one of which resulted in a few days in jail. Then two clinics brought lawsuits to myself and other rescuers. The judge awarded in their favor $2700 which basically mounted to $270 per abortion that did not take place because we were there. We had to pay the plaintiffs legal fees which was $19,000. They (the plaintiffs) could try to get the $23,000 (because of interest) from just one person. I was the first person they went after.
What did you do?
I refused to pay. I always pay every debt I have, but I will not pay any money that will be going to the killing of children. So they went to my church to garnish my wages for the money. I decided that there was no way we could allow ourselves or the church to be in a position to be paying money to an abortion clinic. The only way to get around that was to resign as a pastor, which was somewhat traumatic. That’s when we decided to begin Eternal Perspectives so we could pursue those things closer to our hearts—missions and prolife work.
Your new book ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments has sold over 60,000 copies. There are many prolife books on the market. What has made yours a best seller?
I’ve got every prolife book out there. There’s a lot of good information in them; they look at the whole issue. But they’re not broken down in an accessible format, and often they’re not well-documented. I was down in San Diego, and I had a half-dozen high school and college students come up to me and say, “I used your book on a term paper and I got an A.”
Besides writing term papers, what are some ways home schoolers can get involved in the prolife movement?
One of the appendixes of ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments tells of 50 things you can do to help unborn children. There are Crisis Pregnancy Centers and homes for unwed mothers that are running year round. Home schoolers have the advantage of being available to help at different hours than other people.
What’s the biggest mistake we can make fighting abortion?
Not knowing your audience is the biggest mistake. Use terminology people can relate to. It’s easy for us to use the term “pro-abortion” instead of prochoice. But when we use the terminology we prefer, we end up talking to ourselves. You have to understand where they are coming from. Otherwise you won’t communicate effectively. We need to help people think—they don’t know. We need to get beneath the surface of their arguments. If you’re talking about abortion rights, talk in terms of kidnapping rights. There’s no right to kidnap because kidnapping isn’t a right, and it’s exploiting innocent people.
What do you think the future of the prolife movement is? Some say in the 80s we were just trying to save babies, which was good, but we should have been trying to sway public opinion. Is there going to be a new approach?
Not every prolifer should being do the same thing. But on the educational level in the 80s the movement made a big mistake in believing Washington, D.C., was the key to answering our problems. The bottom line is that abortion decisions are not made by Reagan, Bush, or Clinton, but by Susie, Jimmy, Tommy and Freddy. These are the people who make the abortion decisions. I’m all for a prolife President, but the fact is all the years that Ronald Reagen and George Bush were in office, a million and a half babies died every year.
Do you see the prolife movement moving along as it has been, or do you see 10 years from now being a fallout on either side?
The prolife movement has had to take stock of itself. On a national level, the prolife movement has failed. However, the alternatives to abortion are succeeding. Looking ahead there are some potentially scary things, like making it a felony to stand outside of an abortion clinic.
Are you optimistic? Do you think America will eventually turn around and become prolife?
No, I don’t. But, that doesn’t give me cause for despair. We know how the world is going to end anyway. It’s not going to get progressively better. Along the way there is sometimes progress. But, without a revival, there is no basis on which we can turn around our thinking on the abortion issue or the homosexual issue. I am not optimistic about the future of our country. I am very optimistic about the future of all who follow Christ because our future is heaven.
So what’s the use of fighting if we can’t win the battle?
Even in this world I’m optimistic about the opportunity to impact and influence all kinds of people. I’ve seen joy and peace in the lives of many women who’ve had an experience of forgiveness after their abortions and many women who, as a result of intervention, spared the lives of their children. Someone was telling me about a woman on her way to have an abortion. She got behind a car with a prolife bumper sticker, and she turned around, canceled her appointment, and had the baby. So when people talk about winning the battle, to me I feel we’ve won the battle each time a woman lets her baby live.
New Attitude strongly encourages readers to get a copy of Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments. This book is a valuable tool and should be in the library of every prolifer.