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Bringing Up the Embryo in the Room

July 13, 2010

Norman Rockwell's "Freedom of Speech"


Tonight I attended my second candidate forum featuring Matthew Burke and James Watkins–two Republicans running against each other for Congress in the 1st District. Burke mentioned to the audience that he had received the endorsement of Human Life PAC.  

Curious to know where Watkins stood on the issue of abortion, I approached him afterwards to inquire if he had received any nods from pro-life groups. He went on to list various private endorsements he had picked up from local leaders.  

Watkins then added that people weren’t asking much about abortion in this campaign–the issue just wasn’t that popular. 

I bristled inside, immediately feeling defensive: this was the rational so often used to justify why the “divisive” social issues should be glanced over in favor of fiscal discussions. 

But then I realized, he was absolutely right. 

The blame for the issue of abortion remaining politically dormant all these years lies just as much with the voters, as it does with the politicians. And when I say “voters”, I’m not talking about pro-choice voters, but pro-life voters–I’m talking about me. 

Oh yes, there is the little voice inside my head whenever I think of bringing up abortion, even among a presumably sympathetic audience. It goes something like this: 

“Don’t say it! You’ll scare the moderates!” 

“It’s the economy, Stupid.” 

“Shhh! They’ll find out you were homeschooled!” 

What exactly am I afraid of? …an awkward silence…a disapproving sideways glance?  

Yes, the threat of an awkward silence is enough to shut me up. 

Because I’m not asking, candidates aren’t answering–because candidates aren’t being asked, abortion takes a backseat. 

Speaking of controversial issues…I have a confession to make: I don’t care about immigration, and I don’t care about the Federal Reserve. 

But even though I don’t care, I feel like I should care, because throughout the political landscape, people won’t stop talking about it.  Talking makes things real. It makes visible that which is hidden from view, such as the fact that 1 out of 5 children in the United States die from abortion

Currently more American’s identify themselves as “pro-life” than ever before. What would happen if we decided not to shut up? What if the first question to come up at every town hall was “Do you believe the unalienable right to life ought to apply to preborn children, and once elected, what will you do to secure that right?”  What if we filled every political forum with awkward silences and sideways glances? 

Last year, a young man did just that at a town hall for Congressman Jay Inslee. In the midst of a discussion about the economy, health care, and the environment, he stood up, and for no good reason, began talking about the importance of protecting human life. It was out of context, irrelevant, off-topic… 

It was brilliant.    

Afterwards the young man was surrounded by a buzz of conversation: encouragement, questions, and challenges. People were talking, and abortion became real in the eyes of voters because this man had the courage to snub awkwardness, and bring up the embryo in the room.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Tommy permalink
    July 13, 2010 2:13 am

    To be read aloud and loudly: “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.” (Isaiah 62:1)

    I vow to do my part in speaking up, when ever, why ever, and how ever.

  2. Larry Andrews permalink
    July 14, 2010 3:13 am

    Well said, Tera)… It’s so true… conservatives have been courteous, shy, timid, scared. But, the mood is changing and we’re standing up for what is right and articulating our voice. We have to… 48 million babies a year, world wide, are being sacrificed at the alter of abortion. The greatest crime against God and man ever conceived.

  3. Ann permalink
    July 14, 2010 5:19 am

    you are SO right!

    I am often unpopular for bringing up things others find uncomfortable.

    If I didn’t do it, nobody would.

  4. July 23, 2010 7:04 am

    I prodded Mr. Burke a little bit after your first forum between him and Watkins. Constructive criticism, you might call it. It seems as if he understood, and now has the endorsement of Human Life of WA. Good show, and keep up the fight!

    • July 23, 2010 8:49 am

      Yay! Great job Big Tex! I felt as though there was a change in Burke’s presentation between the two forums. Thank you for prodding!

  5. Phil Spackman permalink
    August 2, 2010 7:29 pm

    Well good evening Terra, you are such an awesome writer and I can tell without having met you yet. That as great of writer as you are,your an even better person than you are a writer. Terra I can just tell that about you and I meant every word I said in that article on the Reagan wing. I’m going to guess that what I said on the Reagan wing was OK with you. For what its worth Doug agreed with every word I said about you and knowing Doug as I do that saying an awful lot. Anyway before I make this any worse I better stop. Have great night Terra!!

  6. August 3, 2010 5:38 am

    This post gave me the chills.


  1. And the Real Pro-life Candidate(s) Are… «

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