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The Vision of a Pro-Life Generation
Moving beyond abortion

Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America

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LOPEZ: What is ivoteprolifefirst.com, and how does one do that when there are plenty of political issues to consider?

HAWKINS: You know, being a single-issue voter has become looked down upon by many in academia, the media, etc. However, I am a proud “pro-life first” voter. If a candidate isn’t right on the life issue, how can I trust him/her to be right on other issues?

Ivoteprolifefirst.com is a new coalition effort that SFLA has been working on for 2012. At the site, we are asking all pro-lifers to sign our pledge to always vote pro-life first: to always consider a candidate’s stance on abortion before other issues, because there is no greater issue than the right to life. Then, after they sign the pledge, we ask all pro-lifers to make sure to register to vote if they haven’t done so yet; to request an action kit to register voters and pledge signers at their parish, church, or campus; and to e-mail their family and friends to sign the pledge and register to vote.

You know, I saw two bumper stickers on a car the other day, and it still frustrates me when I think of it: One side of the car had a “You Can’t Be Catholic and Pro-Choice” bumper sticker, and the other side had an “Obama 2012” bumper sticker. Can you say disconnect?

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LOPEZ: How much of the task of abolishing abortion has to do with helping mothers and fathers who get bad prenatal diagnoses? With helping doctors help them welcome life? Do you ever worry that that is an unfair, even cruel, thing to ask?

HAWKINS: There are so many people I know personally who were told to just “have the abortion” when they received a poor prenatal diagnosis for their child. In fact, it’s shocking how many people I know have been told this by their doctors.

Our movement must do more to help families prepare to welcome children with genetic disabilities. I love the group Prenatal Partners for Life. We need them in every hospital across the country. They are doing work that no one else does — listening to and supporting families who choose to carry and deliver their child despite poor diagnoses.

I think this starts in the medical schools. We need medical students to learn 1) that these special children can survive outside of the womb and have happy lives and be a joy to their families; 2) that abortion is not compassion for the family; and 3) that there are resources to help parents deal with poor prenatal diagnoses and prepare for birth.

LOPEZ: Do we focus enough on adoption? And letting parents know that’s a real and wonderful option?

HAWKINS: No, we do not. One of our team members is a birth mother, and since she has started working for SFLA, she has really showed me just how far our movement needs to grow in this area. Since working with Amanda, I now am sensitive to how people talk about adoption; I’ve heard pro-life leaders and students we work with use the wrong terminology when talking about it, saying “give up the baby” instead of “placing the baby with an adoptive family.” Words like “give up” send a signal that adoption is a bad thing, when in fact it is one of the most sacrificial decisions a mother can make for her child. Birth mothers need to be celebrated in our culture. Right now, most people don’t really know what to say or do when they meet a birth mother.

LOPEZ: What drives you crazy about our abortion politics?

HAWKINS: Politicians who claim to be pro-life but, when elected, don’t do anything brave or significant because they don’t want to rock the boat while “waiting for their prime committee assignment ten years from now.” Elected officials who claim to be pro-life but hire pro-abortion employees! Personnel is policy. If you are a pro-life politician, you must hire pro-life staff members or you will miss opportunities to lead. And elected officials who say they want to do big things and cut government spending but then are afraid, or say “it’s not the right timing” to de-fund the abortion Goliath, Planned Parenthood. I’m an impatient person.



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