In the age of the Internet, virtually any business or organization that shuns technological advances does so at its own peril. In some cases, however, a strong online presence serves an even higher purpose than protecting market share or increasing a company’s bottom line.
For those whose mission it is to protect the lives of the unborn, the Internet has provided a level playing field for the free exchange of ideas. This trend has correlated with surveys indicating that Americans in general are growing less supportive of abortion on demand.
Western Journalism recently spoke to officials involved in two leading pro-life groups who explained the benefits of sharing their message online. Online for Life President Brian Fisher has made it his mission to leverage the power of the Internet while Pro-Life Action League assistance communications director Matthew Yonke explained his organization utilizes technology to expand its reach.
“Prior to the expansion of digital communications,” Yonke said, “the Pro-Life Action League had to communicate through print and phone exclusively, and often by our National Director, Joe Scheidler, traveling across the country to meet with individual right-to-life groups to inspire more people to activism.”
He said that, while those techniques are still being employed across the nation, the Internet has allowed the organization to use its human resources more effectively while recruiting and equipping “hundreds of thousands more people to fight abortion through direct, grassroots activism and prayer presence at abortion clinics.”
In addition to the group’s website, Yonke stressed the importance of social media sites, which he said plays a significant role “both in sharing the kind of activism we’re doing with the world and in allowing people to reach out to us for help getting involved.”
Fisher echoed Yonke’s sentiment regarding the potential for social impact the Internet provides those in the pro-life movement, recalling the motivation behind creating Online for Life.
“There are over two million Internet searches a month in the U.S. for abortion-related terms,” he explained, “so we just determined many hurting women were using the Internet to find abortion options or just information.”
He too touted social media, calling sites like Facebook “probably our strongest way to connect with like-minded communities.”
With hundreds of thousands of Facebook users interacting with his group, he said his is “the most active pro-life social community in the world.”
By taking feedback seriously and encouraging that interaction, he said the group has been able to extend its influence and partner with many other groups.
Another unique aspect of a strong online presence, Fisher noted, is the promise of “virtually instant feedback.”
He described the organization’s leadership as “data junkies,” individuals from the private sector interested in quick results and open to trying new approaches based on the data they receive.
“That knowledge helps us to improve our outreach over time,” he said.
Pro-Life Action League offers links to a litany of other groups with an online presence, signaling a level of partnership unimaginable prior to the Internet.
“It certainly is easier to work together with other organizations these days,” Yonke acknowledged. “For example, the Pro-Life Action League collaborated with dozens of other pro-life and pro-religious freedom groups on our ‘Stand Up for Religious Freedom’ rallies against the [Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate] in 2012. Almost all of the work that went into rallying hundreds of thousands of people to nationwide rallies in hundreds of cities was organized from our offices here in Chicago.”
If not for the Internet, he insisted, “that kind of collaboration would have been impossible.”
While technology’s inherent democracy does not specifically favor the pro-life position, Yonke explained that it does make it easier to combat the misleading rhetoric emanating from the pro-abortion camp.
“Certainly the expanded reach technology has given us has made it harder for pro-abortion forces to push their obfuscations like claiming a baby in the womb being ‘just a blob of tissue,’” he said. “Ultrasound photos and in-utero photography can now be easily shared, as well as photos of abortion’s victims, which are easily available on pro-life websites including the Pro-Life Action League’s site.”
Both men recognized a shift toward the pro-life position among Americans, a trend documented in the results of several recent surveys. Furthermore, they predict the nation will continue to grow wearier of the permissive attitude toward killing the unborn.
“Young people becoming adults these days have grown up under the threat of legal abortion,” Yonke said. “They know that many of their peers, classmates, and siblings have not made it out of their mother’s womb alive, and I think that affects the way they think about the issue.”
Fisher agreed, forecasting his belief that “we will see abortion become unthinkable and unavailable in our lifetimes.”
He concluded that there exists “a convergence of science, medicine, cultural opinion, and logic, and that convergence will lead to the end of this terrible blight on America’s history.”
In the meantime, however, Yonke and Fisher stress the importance of pro-life Americans to remain active in their communities and beyond, using technology to amplify their voices.
“You can help spread the pro-life message online in lots of ways,” Yonke said. “Post pro-life news stories on your Facebook, Twitter, blog or other social media sites – particularly helpful stories that expose the depravity of the abortion business or the help available for women in difficult pregnancies.”
Additionally, he noted that Pro-Life Action League – as well as most other related organizations – offers an email list with the latest news affecting the nation’s abortion policy.
“Get email alerts from your local pro-life/pro-family lobbying organization so you are alerted when you can make an important phone call to your legislator that can make a huge impact on the laws of our land.”
He encouraged advocates, however, to share their convictions in a loving way without making accusations or moral judgments.
“Pro-abortion people are not our enemy,” he concluded. “They’re children of God who are wrong about this issue but nevertheless deserve to be treated with the kind of love Jesus showed to all people in His earthly ministry.”
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom