If I want to get others to go along with an idea I’m trying to sell, mainly if it’s one they might not agree with, I try to meet them where they are and work from there. I listen to them, learn their concerns, try to frame my position from their perspective and, I hope, with a little persuasion and respect, get them to go along or at least not say “no”.
Someone in the anti-abortion group Hoosiers for Life should consider that approach. Let me correct that descriptive—the rabid anti-abortion group Hoosiers for Life. These guys are so far down the pro-life road of zealotry that, if they could, they would try to outlaw the Batesville casket company because they think it promotes death.
Mostly recently, they went after House Speaker Brian Bosma. But they didn’t do it in the form of protesting at the Statehouse or letters to the editor. They didn’t even make their usual tasteless and tacky move of showing up at the speaker’s home with “pictures” of aborted fetuses. No, they attacked Bosma in a social media thread that was dedicated to the memory of his mother, who had just passed away.
Yes, on a forum a son dedicated to the memory of his deceased mother, these people decided to attack him. They don’t think the speaker is “pro-life” enough due to the fact that a bill that would have outlawed all abortions under all circumstances didn’t make it to the floor during the last legislative session and likely won’t have much of a chance making it out of the legislative birth canal this session, either.
Here are examples of the comments left on the post: “You want to bury pro-life bills because you think raising taxes is more important. With ‘Republicans’ like you, who needs Democrats?” And this: “If you are planning to kill a bill that will save children from abortion, you are not pro-life. That would make you pro-death.”
Luckily, 99 percent of the rest of the people posting were appalled at the comments and went after the Hoosiers for Life accordingly. In fact, I think a couple of people who were on the fence on abortion probably became pro-choice when it was all said and done.
And to make matters worse, when I asked Amy Schlicter, executive director of Hoosiers for Life, whether she condoned the comments made by individuals purporting to be members of her group, her response was: “I cannot speak for individual supporters, but I certainly speak for the organization itself. Hoosiers for Life promotes the protection of human life from conception until natural death. Our objective for the 2018 legislative session is to have an up-or-down roll-call vote on Rep. Curt Nisly’s protection of life legislation.” So much for distancing oneself from the crazy.
The speaker got it right on Organization Day when he said from the podium, about people taking public discourse to a new low: “The cowardly practice of remotely saying something that’s misrepresentative of others is so untoward, and it isn’t good for democracy.” It isn’t good for anything.
You would think Hoosiers for Life would know better. Other members of the pro-life movement get it. These guys apparently don’t. If anything, all their antics do is make people like me who tend to be more agnostic on the abortion issue want to write checks to Planned Parenthood.•
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Shabazz is an attorney, radio talk show host and political commentator, college professor and stand-up comedian. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.