From the Editor: More than the Courtroom

Dana Cody

For the most part LLDF’s mission is to support the advocates of innocent human beings under threat of death in the courtroom. However, LLDF is sometimes a voice for those under threat of death outside the courtroom. It is this aspect of LLDF’s mission that I want to share with you so you can see another instance of how your support of LLDF is helping to restore the sanctity of human life in our culture. In April of this year, LLDF’s “voice” brought us to the Journalism Association of Community Colleges (JACC) event in Sacramento, California.

JACC’s event was a writing contest for journalism students, organized in a press conference format, simulated though it was, with about 100 participating students. The writing to be judged were the editorials resulting from information participants gathered at the press conference. The event coordinator estimated that there were about 150 journalists there to observe. It was structured in such a way so that it was actually two separate press conferences— the pro-death conference, followed by fifteen minutes of questions and answers from the participants, then the pro-life conference followed by questions and answers. This was very realistic in that I cannot imagine the two sides ever holding a joint press conference. The two issues covered at the press conference were the efficacy of the so-called “morning after pill” and the validity of Roe v. Wade. I represented the pro-life viewpoint on behalf of LLDF and two representatives of the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) represented the pro-death viewpoint.

While it isn’t surprising that I was double-teamed and that FMF was given forty-five minutes to hold its press conference, LLDF being given twenty minutes for its, what is surprising is that LLDF got the proverbial last word. FMF had no opportunity to publicly respond to anything I had to say because LLDF went last.

FMF spent the forty of their forty-five minutes trumpeting the morning after pill. They spent balance of their time encouraging those in attendance to contact their congressional representatives to persuade them to do everything in their power to see that Roe is not overturned by supporting nominees to the United States Supreme Court that President Bush may have the opportunity to appoint. It was absolutely delightful to spend LLDF’s time refuting much of what the FMF representatives had to say about abortion citing an LLDF publication. Included in LLDF’s press packet was an issue of Lifeline [Vol. VIII, No. 7 (1997)], wherein Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s comments about his involvement with Roe were quoted.

You will remember that Dr. Nathanson was the founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League and formerly the largest abortion provider in New York City. In this particular issue of Lifeline, Dr. Nathanson admitted that the numbers of illegal abortions he testified to pursuant to Roe were absolutely false. Also included was Dr. Nathanson’s account of turning from abortion advocate to abortion foe after viewing an abortion through fetal monitoring equipment that had been unavailable when Roe was decided. JACC participants were given the same opportunity to view a first trimester abortion when Harder Truth, a videotape depicting one, was shown. I showed the video, using seven of my twenty minutes, to set the tone of the question and answer period. There was no abstract discussion of the abortion decision, to be sure.

Even in the face of the horror of abortion there were the typical questions from the participants attempting to deflect any discussion about it. You know them—“How do you stand on capital punishment?”“Is your group religious?”“What about when a woman is raped?” The good news is that for the most part the response of the participants was positive, and in my opinion, due in large part to the realization that their peers in the media have been deceived about abortion by FMF and their ilk.

When the press conference was over a few participants stayed around to ask questions. The last person I spoke with was a journalist who asked how I responded to the two representatives from FMF, who allegedly stated that my presentation was “emotional.” My response was that my arguments were factually and scientifically based in the context of the law as it exists. Imagine my pleasure when the journalist agreed.

My hope is that the students and journalists who attended this event will no longer take abortion advocates at their word when they comment on abortion. I also hope and pray that if one of the JACC participants is involved in a decision over an unplanned pregnancy they will remember LLDF’s presentation and the child whose life may be at risk will be spared.

We will never know the results of LLDF’s presence at the JACC event, but we were there to be a voice for the defenseless. For that, we gratefully acknowledge your support.