[Today's guest writer is anonymous.]
It’s easy to dismiss online pro-life work as slacktivism. Sure, you might say, sharing your opinion on the internet will expose you to ad hominem attacks and insults—but if you really want to make a difference, go volunteer in the real world, reaching out to abortion-minded women. And of course reaching out to families in need is a great thing. But I want to challenge the assumption that internet activism is solely about the realm of ideas, while real-life activism is about actually helping people. It’s entirely possible for pro-lifers to assist pregnant mothers in need, without even leaving their homes.
There are numerous websites out there which (inadvertently) provide pro-lifers with the ability to dissuade individuals from seeking abortions. Simply Googling such sites (including forums, message boards, and blogs) will return a litany of locations where people are asking for advice about whether or not they should make a destructive, tragic decision about their unborn child. Yahoo! Answers often features such sad questions in sections regarding Women's Health, Pregnancy, and Adolescent. If people are directly asking for internet opinions about whether their unborn children should live or die, pro-lifers have a duty to speak up—and to go further by sharing local resources that can provide material assistance.
Yahoo! Answers is uncensored. Other forums are unfortunately run by administrators who want to prevent women from hearing the pro-life perspective. Ironically, one of the worst offenders is BabyCenter.com. You’d think that a site called BabyCenter would have no involvement in the end of babies’ lives, but you’d be wrong. On that site, there are two forums dedicated to encouraging abortions: one for abortions for socioeconomic reasons, and one for abortions done because the baby has been diagnosed with a disability, such as Down Syndrome. BabyCenter.com actually does provide extensive information about prenatal development, revealing the humanity of the unborn child—but keeps that information segregated from the forums where they are most desperately needed. The admins block pro-lifers on both of the abortion boards; abortion is never discussed in less-than-positive terms, and the unborn child is dehumanized to the point of obscurity. It's truly troubling and deeply depressing stuff, especially when one considers how many lives those two forums have taken in the span of roughly six years.
And yet, despite this, the censors haven’t won: BabyCenter’s direct messaging system remains available for pro-lifers to share the truth to women considering abortion. On BabyCenter, Yahoo! Answers, and a plethora of other sites, a compassionate, understanding pro-life advocate—taking a religiously neutral position, of course—can indeed provide a lifeline to women who are struggling.
I understand people feeling discouraged. Some days you look at the internet and see little more than pro-abortion trolling. But the internet is an incredibly valuable asset to the pro-life movement. It provides pro-life individuals with practical outlets to make their visions of peace and nonviolence into a reality. So hook up your laptop and get to it!