Should pro-lifers abandon “incrementalist” strategies?

William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce

There are a number of pro-lifers out there, including friends of mine, who believe that because abortion is still legal, then incrementalist strategies have not worked and therefore should be abandoned.

If we accept that line of thinking, then we would have to conclude that everything we have been doing hasn’t made abortion illegal, so all of it should be abandoned.  This could include (1) showing pictures of abortion victims, because people have been showing pictures for 40 years, (2) praying, because people have been praying for 40 years, and (3) … you get the idea.

Another major objection to incrementalist measures is that they are immoral because they save some but not all.  But we know that the abolitionists in England (Wilberforce et al) did not achieve their ultimate goal all at once.  They were forced to accept small increments of change, but those small steps ultimately led to the abolition of slavery.

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