By Kathleen Gilbert
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 26, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The pro-life movement will now depend more than ever on the entrepreneurship of average pro-lifers who harness the power of the Internet, said pro-life experts and bloggers at the Bloggers for Life Conference last Thursday. Speakers at the conference included Sen. Sam Brownback and conservative MEP Nirj Deva, head of the pro-life caucus in the European parliament.
Most guests stressed the enormous influence pro-life individuals could now have thanks to the untapped gold mine of Internet communication. Popular blogger and pro-life activist Jill Stanek was MC of the conference, hosted by the Family Research Council.
“More so now than ever the work of bloggers I think is extremely important,” said Peter Shinn, founder and president of Pro-Life Unity, a networking service for pro-life organizations and individuals. Shinn urged the bloggers to support each other in their efforts, and not succumb to the terminology of the culture of death. “I think we should take the kind words away, and make them difficult. Let’s make it a difficult topic,” said Shinn.
Blogger and Executive Director of American Life League Shaun Kenney said that, at a time when the mainstream media refuses to cover pro-life news, blogging “enables the community to start being the leaders themselves.” “The change isn’t going to come from some new organization in Washington,” said Kenney; rather, change is going to come from “those who are able to reach out … through alternative means – namely, new media. It’s free, and it’s effective.”
Kenney said pro-life activism should be guided by the principle of “centralized command, decentralized execution.” “We’ve marched from a very narrow drumbeat, and that needs to change,” he said.
Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life suggested that pro-lifers should recognize that the power of the Internet, which the Obama campaign harnessed so effectively to get the president elected, is the same power at the fingertips of all pro-lifers.
“Barack Obama and his activities online: not rocket science!” said Yoest. “It’s just the telephone. It’s just the telegraph. It’s just a new way of communicating. It’s still about content, it’s still about getting out the word in a way that is compelling and gripping and authentic, and original, and we got that, because we’ve got the truth on our side.”
Amanda Carpenter, a National Political Reporter for Townhall.com and the keynote speaker, discussed how blogger coverage of Obama’s attack on the Born Alive Infants Protection Act was a “good case study for bloggers” on how Internet coverage can sway the mainstream media.
“Thanks to the Internet, it is very easy to be a footsoldier in the pro-life movement,” she said.
Several speakers, including Carpenter, recommended that more women join the pro-life blogger community, and that blogs focus on the damage abortion does to women. “We have to care as much for them as for the unborn,” urged Angel Manuel Soto, director of the pro-life movie 22 Weeks, in a brief appearance.
Speakers also urged bloggers to raise awareness of prenatal eugenics. Both guests from Congress – Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) – said the topic was in particularly great need of exposure, as advances in prenatal diagnosis technology is on track to put countless more disabled children in danger of abortion.
MEP Nirj Deva spoke briefly on the increasing demographic instability in the EU, thanks to a widespread acceptance of abortion and contraception, and a growing acceptance of euthanasia.
“Why is it that we are deliberately committing suicide? It is because of our selfishness,” said Deva. “We go for the immediate satisfaction … and are prepared to end life for our current pleasure. This is a horrendous balance that has been created out of what we feel, I think, is a society given to no purpose.
“We do not have an organization such as yours anywhere in Europe,” he continued, “and to talk about these things is extremely – not done in European political establishments. So please, don’t keep this to yourself. I want you all to come and tell us and reaffirm and restrengthen our resolve,” Deva concluded.