How five women leaders are reinventing the pro-life movement.

Many Americans did not grasp the severity of the Vietnam War until television news brought it into their living rooms. Flaming village huts and countless stretchers of broken young men: such images distilled the war for the masses.

Around the time the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam, another war erupted. The 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision sparked a civil war over abortion that has been escalating ever since. Like Vietnam, it is a struggle often reduced to pictures on the nightly news: scuffles at abortion-clinic doors, grim placards, handcuffed protesters loaded into police vans.

Last year the murder of abortion doctor David Gunn intensified the conflict. The broadcast media put angry pro-life extremists on everything from network news broadcasts to Donahue. To the casual observer, it might have appeared that these defenders of violence spoke for the pro-life movement.

Not only are defenders of the preborn said to promote violence, they are also accused of being anti-women. “Four, six, eight, ten,” the pro-choicers at the barricades shout at pro-life activists, “why are all your leaders men?”

But the media caricatures have missed the beating heart of the pro-life movement. Most of its mainstream leaders are women, such as the five depicted here. And for these pro-life leaders, it was their experience as women that led them to their positions.

Their profiles do not match the parodies. They are articulate, passionate, eccentric, witty, refreshing. They are Black, White, Hispanic. They are Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox. They include mothers, attorneys, home schoolers, and executives.

Their diversity accentuates what they have in common. They decry violence. Rather ...

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