From Townhall Magazine's June feature, "A New Civil Rights Heroine," by Dan Gainor:
She’s a 5’4”, sweet 23-year-old who could easily look much younger with little effort. She’s also the bane of the pro-death crowd that wants abortion on demand—so much so that they’ve hit her, called her everything from a “b****” to a “c***” and more. The left-wing website Urban Dictionary defines her with a mixture of obscenities and labels her a “mockery of women’s lib.” Some opponent went so far as to create a website of phony porn shots of her.
She’s Lila Rose, the thorn in the side of Planned Parenthood and president of the pro-life group Live Action. And while all of that negative attention is challenging, it’s also a pretty good hint that Lila is winning.
But it’s a long battle, and the consequence is literally life or death.
and a respect for life. It’s written into our heart,” explains Lila. That love is why the tide is turning against abortion, she says.
Lila calls the battle to stop abortion and save the lives of millions of children “the greatest civil rights movement ever.”
toward protecting life. A March 2010 poll was headlined: ‘The New Normal on Abortion: Americans More ‘Pro-Life.’” The poll showed that all age groups were growing more opposed to abortion and “represents the third consecutive time Gallup has found more Americans taking the pro-life than pro-choice position on this measure since May 2009, suggesting a real change in public opinion.”
That doesn’t mean it will be an easy battle. Lila has been fighting for life since she first formed the non-profit Live Action nearly nine years ago. The group was first designed to spread the pro-life message to young people. But it has taken up a much more aggressive strategy—targeting abortionists at Planned Parenthood with several video stings that have cost that group funding and supporters.
One of those investigations exposed how Planned Parenthood would react to being told about the “trafficking of children.” As CBS News reported, “[A]ntiabortion group Live Action has released undercover video showing Planned Parenthood staffers all too eager to help purported teen sex workers get abortions and contraception.”
It was a story so salacious that the traditional media couldn’t ignore it—even CBS, which had not been eager to report on Live Action in general. ...
Although that story was covered, Live Action often has to work around liberal journalists. News outlets like The New York Times rarely report on the March for Life but give huge coverage to liberal causes. Lila is especially critical of the “lack of coverage of media” of the pro-life movement: “The worst thing is what I’ve seen CBS News do, or MSNBC or even CNN do, which is ignore.”
Lila is difficult to ignore, taking her fight to “The O’Reilly Factor,” “The Glenn Beck Show” and CNN. She’s also written for several major news outlets and received awards for her work from other pro-life groups.
But even in the midst of the fight, she revels in newfound friends, trying not to assume where anyone stands.
“I’m not surprised when anyone is pro-life,” Lila says.
She brightens as she tells of meeting a man on a plane who easily defied expectations.
“I was sitting next to this young man who anybody could stereotype as a certain kind of person—tattoos and piercings and crazy clothes and listening to hard metal and we started to talk about, ‘What do you do, where are you at,’ whatever,” she explains. “And he was, ‘That’s cool, that’s really cool, I’m pro-life.’ He starts talking about the story of his younger brother with a disability and they encouraged an abortion of and how he just brought love into his family.”
That’s the kind of story that gives her energy for the next battle, which will likely be soon.
“We’re going to have new investigations coming out in the next few months,” she promised. ...
A BOLD VISION FORWARD
If Lila has her way, abortion will go away. In an ideal world, she says, “I would immediately carve a constitutional amendment that human life begins at the biological beginning.” That would include a section “that protects all people’s right to life regardless of how they were conceived or anything like this.”
She doesn't hold back about what that would mean: “I would make sure abortion clinics were shut down, criminalized; abortion was criminalized, abortionists were criminalized—not necessarily the woman seeking an abortion because there’s a lot of manipulation and coercion that’s wrapped up in that.” She would then push a “public education campaign” to educate women on alternatives.
With pro-lifers now outnumbering those backing abortion, it’s a vision that isn’t impossible. But getting there will depend on millions of young people pushing an agenda for life.
On that front, Lila has some especially unhappy news for the abortion movement: “Half of the Live Action Facebook page are girls between the ages of 13 and 17.” That means more than 100,000 young women—”an army of these young girls who are on fire for life.
When asked who’s the next Lila Rose, she mentions these girls: “There’s thousands of them, tens of thousands.”
“They’re better than me,” she adds.
No wonder Lila is confident about the future: “There’s huge momentum right now for life.”
Read more of Dan Gainor's piece in the June isssue of Townhall Magazine.