The pro-life movement is unquestionably one of the most diverse movements in history, with literally thousands of groups of all types, sizes, missions, and religious affiliations scattered all over the United States.
They range from large, well-funded national organizations, each with its own mission, to thousands of state and local organizations right down to small women's resource centers serving local communities. Indeed, there is nothing else quite like it anywhere else in the world.
This diversity is one of the movement's great strengths, which lies in its unanimous opposition to abortion on demand and in its genuine grass roots character.
No matter what Planned Parenthood and the pro-abortion ideologists do, there is no way they will ever be able to eradicate our belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
One weakness of such diversity, however, is that when it comes to long term planning, innovative strategies, and preventive education, it is often hard to get everyone moving in the same direction. It's a bit like trying to get butterflies flying in formation. Planned Parenthood has 25-Year Plans. We're often lucky to have 24-hour plans.
As a result, we're very good at projects like protesting in front of Planned Parenthood, organizing prayer vigils, serving women with crisis pregnancies, and rallying the troops for crises.
These are all very good, but there are some things that don't always get done, like long term education, reaching out to parents, running seminars for teens, reaching out to small business, and expanding the tea party dialogue about economic issues to include the economic impact of abortion.
Taken together, these could make a big difference between ending abortion in America some time in the distant future or realistically ending it within the next 20 years. That's a goal worth shooting for. If we're serious, we'll go for it.
Right now, abortions are declining at a snail's pace -- just 1.2% a year. At that rate, it could take 60 years to cut the number of abortions in half and 200 years to eliminate it altogether. At that pace, the country itself might not survive.
However, with new and better strategies and greater unity and solidarity, we could realistically increase that rate of decline to 10% a year. At that rate, the number of abortions could be cut in half in 7 years, and eliminated within 20 years. That makes it a worthy and sensible goal.
That's why we need fresh approaches that do not compete, but empower the whole pro-life movement. They would involve incorporating the ideas of management experts like C. Edwards Deming and Peter Drucker along with more traditional methods of evangelization. Notions like constantly improving performance and results-oriented management are worth trying as a way to improve the results of our mission.
However, it is essential we maintain our faith-based orientation because that is at the core of what the pro-life movement is all about.
Being both faith-based and marketing-oriented simply means that we take our marketing plan from the greatest marketing genius of all time -- Jesus Christ and the Gospel Parable of the Sower.
In my opinion, that's the greatest strategy ever written. Christ said: Stop wasting your time scattering your seed among the thorns and the rocks or along the road where it will be trampled under foot. His message was simple: Find the good soil, and sow your message there.
This immediately avoids the temptation to waste time, energy, and money chasing after the impossible cases. People whose minds are stuck in reverse. Opponents who are only too glad to fight and haggle. Or litigious folk who like nothing better than long, expensive lawsuits.
Essentially, Jesus said: Put first things first.
His first effort was recruiting the Twelve, men who grasped what He was saying and who were willing to drop everything and come follow Him. He left the tough cases -- like the Pharisees and the money-changers -- until later.
Jesus also limited His effort to small, manageable teams. I call that the "Principle of Twelve. " He also said that "where two or three are gathered in my Name, I am there with you."
That's all it takes to form your own Pro-Life team -- two or three other like-minded people who are committed to our common goal of ending abortion in America within the foreseeable future. When the team grows beyond twelve or more, it is time to start new teams for new missions.
And that's where the thinking of management mavens like Deming and Drucker comes in. Instead of saying that "if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly," as Chesterton unwisely said, Deming's view was that "if something is worth doing, it is worth doing better."
That a great working philosophy. So is Drucker's view that just because something is worth doing for altruistic reasons, that doesn't mean we can forget about results. In my lifetime, I have seen some great things go by the board. They failed, not because they were bad ideas, but because people were more concerned about how good it made them feel than they were about results.
To succeed we must be concerned with results and remain willing at all times to try new ways to achieve them. As I saw frequently in my market career, willingness to innovate is often the key.
Ending abortion in America within a foreseeable period of time is a laudable goal, but it won't be achieved if we're willing to settle for a 1.2% annual reduction in the number of abortions. We need to find ways to double and redouble that rate of decline until we can achieve something like a decline of 10% a year. By using measurable targets, we make their achievement possible.
If our current success rate is 1 out of 100, that won't do it. We have to apply our heads and find ways to raise that to 1 out of 50, then 1 out 25, and finally 1 out 10 or 12. The key to achieving that is understanding what makes people change their minds about abortion, and reaching them early enough to make a difference.
After years of prayerful picketing, Princeton Vigilers successfully closed down the Princeton Women's Center at 29 Emmons Drive. Jim Morgan, right, started the vigil 10 years ago. Consolata Fr. Van Hager, left, is NJ's favorite pro-life missioner.
Have a look at our new Campaign for Life signs These new 18 x 24 mini-billboards are a powerful new way to communicate a positive pro-life message. 'Say Yes toLife' is the ultimate answer to 'choice.' Full-size billboards are next. Remember, the average abortion costs about $450, but all it costs to prevent one is $25 in pro-life education