Cover Story

Back to basics

"Back to basics" Continued...

Issue: "Back to basics," Nov. 28, 1992

"We're going to crank up the education," said Mrs. Brown, who told World she has turned down four debates in just the last few weeks. Not that Mrs. Brown has softened her no-exceptions emphasis, but she said 95 percent of her efforts will be directed toward pro-life education (through the Celebrate Life television program) and assisting crisis pregnancy centers and homes for unwed mothers.

In a just-concluded survey of 2,500 crisis pregnancy centers nationwide, Mrs. Brown says she found they shared two common problems: a negative public image and difficulty in raising funds.

"In 1993, we're going to collect every success story from any crisis pregnancy center and share it with all 2,500 of them around the country," Mrs. Brown said of her effort to help the centers learn from what works. ALL will do a total of six mailings, and by the end of the next year "every crisis pregnancy center in the country is going to have a three-ring binder full of success stories."

Jim Smith, Washington lobbyist for the Christian Life Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has three simple strategies for this new phase of the pro-life movement: "Education, education, education."

Smith faulted those who wrongly relied on politicians and presidents to win the abortion battle for them. The Southern Baptist leader cited 2 Chronicles 7:14 to admonish evangelicals to "humble themselves and pray and seek God's face and turn from their wicked ways." Smith said: "Evangelical pro-lifers need to remember that our faith is not in politicians."

But for Smith, passage of the Freedom of Choice Act is not a foregone conclusion. He says President-elect Clinton, a Southern Baptist out of step with the denomination on abortion and many other social issues, "understands he was not elected with a mandate for a radical social agenda.

That, Smith believes, will keep Clinton from expending "political capital" on the Freedom of Choice legislation-although if the measure passes, Clinton will sign it.

Throughout Clinton's presidential campaign, he encouraged citizens to vote their pocketbooks. Throughout his presidency, pro-life citizens may vote with their pocketbooks. Thomas Strobhar, an Ohio stockbroker, heads the firm Pro Vita Advisors. "I'm seeing a greater interest in conscience investing," Strobhar says. "We should not patronize companies that run counter to our deeply held moral values, nor should we profit from them."

Strobhar charges no fees in helping pro-lifers structure their investment portfolios to avoid doing business with companies that support abortion. Since starting Pro Vita Advisors about three years ago, Strobhar has "answered thousands of inquires," and under Clinton he expects his mailbox will get even fuller.

Even Operation Rescue is taking a fresh look at its mission. With founder Randall Terry concentrating on his radio talk show, Operation Rescue National director Keith Tucci has taken the reins. Tucci says the seeds of this month's political defeat were sown 20 years ago when pro-lifers "tried to convince the world without first having convinced the church that abortion is wrong."

"Pro-lifers were convinced they were the 'silent majority,' " Tucci said. "We are not the 'silent majority,' we are a minority and we have to educate the American people"-beginning, he says, with the church.

The Operation Rescue leader has launched two new projects toward that end: the 12-week Impact Team program to train 23 new activist leaders, and the National Adoption Project to place "special needs" children into Christian Homes.

The adoption project is new for Operation Rescue. By the end of the year, the rescue organization will have spent $30,000 to support the program, and Tucci says it will spend twice that next year. The money will be used to help buy ads, produce a video, and generate publicity to bring to the attention of adoptive Christian parents "special needs boys and girls [who] are often tied up in bureaucratic red tape."

"We have people to match up parents with kids," Tucci says. They help navigate through the [adoption] process."

Impact Teams is vintage Operation Rescue. The first training "school" begins Jan. 18. Students of activism, Tucci says will spend about half their time in a classroom setting and the other half "in the streets."

For the 23 slots, more than 90 people have submitted applications, which are being screened carefully. "It's boot camp for the pro-life army," Tucci says, brushing aside suggestions that under Clinton, the penalties for rescuing will get tougher.

"We are counting on Clinton's overplaying his hand," explains Tucci. "His action will bring more Christians into the streets...I think it's recruiting season right now."


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