- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 10, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The moment of truth is coming for the pro-life movement. The battle over defunding Planned Parenthood will show if we are a politically viable force - with political power that is respected and feared - or simply a cute political bauble.

In the more promising years of pro-life history, we had culture-war giants like Jerry Falwell and John Cardinal O’Connor - men who were feared for their ability to name adversaries, define the terms of battle and create the atmosphere in which political scalps were nailed to the wall on Election Day.

Those days are gone. Our best pro-life leaders are in the grave, and current “leaders” are usually not worthy of the name. They are not feared - nor even respected - because they are usually not known in the halls of power. Some of them raise enormous sums of tax-exempt money on “the issue of abortion,” but their tax-exempt status shackles them during elections and severely limits their lobbying for anti-abortion legislation. They have grandiose conferences, build flashy websites and then host “cybermarches.” With few exceptions, these leaders are not leading a political insurrection against child-killing. Sadly, most of them are ciphers outside the pro-life ghetto. They have no political scalps, for they wield no political sword.

This reality is coming into sharp focus in the fight to defund Planned Parenthood. Pro-life leaders give men like House Majority Leader John A. Boehner pro-life awards; they give Rep. Mike Pence premature accolades; they send out press releases (which are usually ignored), hastily praising our “victory” against Planned Parenthood, when no victory has been won. Too many leaders show a woeful lack of political acumen, prowess and valor. The bully pulpits of the past are in ruins. Righteous bullies are all but gone, and we barely have any pulpits.

Compare the current pro-life debacle to the Tea Party movement. Tea Party activists get it; they are demanding real cuts, with political threats (and scalps) to back up their demands. They have not become institutionalized like the pro-life movement. They want concrete results, not symbolic victories or access to and photo-ops with congressmen.

We must study the examples of our fallen heroes and the current Tea Party insurrection. We must tell Mr. Boehner and the GOP House members, “You have taken a fine first step in defunding Planned Parenthood. Now, see this battle through to victory, no matter what the Senate does. We expect you to defund this criminal syndicate, and to not pass a Continuing Resolution unless it completely defunds Planned Parenthood and all child killing in Obamacare. The Senate and the president cannot force you to spend money, so surrendering to them is unacceptable.”

Thankfully, Rep. Christopher H. Smith publicly stated he would vote against the final CR unless it includes all the pro-life riders passed by the House. This is another great step. Pro-lifers must now tell pro-life members of the House - Michelle Bachmann, Jim Jordan, Trent Franks, Steven King and dozens of pro-life freshmen - that we expect them to follow Mr. Smith’s lead. Beyond that, we expect them to overtly rally a pro-life caucus that, if need be, holds the CR hostage - up to and including a government shutdown - until babies are protected in Obamacare and Planned Parenthood is denied our money.

If these pro-life House members betray the babies and us at this critical moment by voting for a CR that contains money for Planned Parenthood or child-killing in Obamacare, they have betrayed the unborn and should be treated politically as collaborators with the enemy. If we do not hold them to this standard, then not only are they collaborators with Planned Parenthood, we are.

The moment of truth is here for the pro-life movement. This moment will either be a “Waterloo” for Planned Parenthood or for us.

To give a more earthy perspective: Is the anti-abortion movement a viable political force with clearly stated and achievable political ends? Is it a movement to be feared and defied only with severe political consequences? Or is it a political mistress - the ditsy bauble hanging on the arm of GOP sugar daddies in the campaign season, then ignored without penalty? Or worse, is the pro-life movement a political streetwalker that is knowingly being bought and sold and defiled for the money and power of our political pro-life pimps in Congress?

This moment of truth will arrive shortly in a shiny black SUV. The problem is that we cannot discern if that black SUV is a government-issued security vehicle for a GOP leader, a tricked-out pimpmobile or if they are one and the same.

Randall Terry is a pro-life activist and founder of Operation Rescue.

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