Regular readers here and of Jill Stanek's blog (who has a much wider readership than I do) are mostly aware of the debate within the pro-life movement of "incrementalists" vs. "purists". The "purists" side of the debate has now manifested itself into a newly formed American Right to Life that directly challenges the National Right to Life, who has been the largest and most influential pro-life political organization in the U.S. for the 35 years following Roe vs. Wade, yet has failed to directly challenge the landmark decision. As Jill Stanek reported last month following the announcement of ARTL's launching:
ARTL is taking on NRLC for 2 principle reasons. According to ARTL:
NRLC has deemphasized personhood as the focal point of the pro-life movement, i.e., the Human Life Amendment, guaranteeing constitutional protect from the moment of fertilization.
"For a quarter century, NRTL and others have dictated a strategy of child-killing regulations (consent; waiting, consent, PBA, etc., 'and then you can kill the baby')," as quoted from ARTL's website.
Two noteworthy points, from ARTL's website:
ARTL Timeframe: Our charter gives the founding leaders (directors and officers) twelve years in which to end abortion in America. At that time, if they have not, they are required to turn over ARTL to an entirely new slate of leaders, their leadership coming to an end, either because they have succeeded, or failed. In the fall of 2008, ARTL will host a conference on ending abortion, titled 11 Years Till D Day, and the year after that, 10 Years, then 9 Years, etc., instead of the never-ending, perpetual conventions of NRTL (so far at 35th Annual and counting).
ARTL Salary & Benefits: ARTL's board members, officers, and spokesmen serve without salary. Ministry workers have every right to receive salaries, but that model has not well served the fight to end "legal" abortion and euthanasia. The pro-life industry has become too comfortable as it receives millions of dollars a month in salaries. As a result, ARTL has broken the mold, with no salary for its leaders, and no retirement benefits.
Some pro-life activists (of both the incrementalist stripe as well as those in the middle) felt that this move would further "fracture" the pro-life movement.
Astonishingly, Brian Rohrbough, the founder of the American Right to Life has been named "pro-lifer of the year" due to his overwhelming victory in an online poll hosted by none other than Jill Stanek herself. I nominated and voted for David Bereit, the national director of the very successful 40 Days for Life. There were several good choices in that poll (and some that were not so impressive), but I think that the victory for Brian Rohrbough indicates some very good things about the pro-life movement and what is to come!