At the March for Life in Washington D.C. on January 22, the Pro-Life Action League unveiled a new “secret weapon” for the pro-life movement: Sharing the Pro-Life Message, a handbook packed with the facts, figures and reasoned arguments every pro-lifer needs to share the truth about abortion with compassion and conviction.
The idea for the handbook was first conceived during the League’s Face the Truth Tour last May in Rapid City, South Dakota. While talking to a group of young pro-abortion counter-protestors, the League’s Matt Yonke found himself in need of information about adoption. He knew that there aren’t enough babies for all the couples who wish to adopt, but lacked the hard data to prove it.
Back home in Chicago, Matt and League Communications Director Eric Scheidler began work on a “cheat sheet” of information about abortion that they could carry around with them, which gradually grew into the handbook, with the help of League staffers Corrina Gura, John Jansen and Ann Scheidler. “We created the handbook that we always wanted to have in our own pockets,” Eric explained.
Obama Era Demands New Pro-Life Tools
Once Barack Obama won the presidential election last November, Eric realized that the handbook could play a critical role in dealing with the coming challenges for the pro-life movement, enabling thousands of pro-lifers across the country to do an “end-run” around the pro-abortion media and the new pro-abortion administration.
So the decision was made to print an initial run of 10,000 copies of the handbook, to be ready in time for the March for Life, two days after Obama’s Inauguration. Pro-life graphic artist Michelle Dellinger was hired to design the handbook and prepare it for printing. Michelle had done the artwork on the League’s highly effective full-page ads against Planned Parenthood in the Aurora Beacon in September 2007, and her design for the handbook was even more spectacular.
At just 3½” by 5½” and 96 pages, Sharing the Pro-Life Message is small enough to fit in a purse, backpack or pocket. Color-coded tabs in the margins make it easy to find information on topics like fetal development, abortion methods and answers to common pro-choice arguments.
The “Thursday Group” packaging handbooks (from left): Sue
McPherrin, Mike Schoenwald, Marybeth Schoenwald and Mary Farrow. [Photo by Corrina Gura]
“Anyone who’s ever had to explain or defend the pro-life message to a friend, family member, co-worker or even a complete stranger, is going to want a copy of this handbook,” Eric said.
Handbook Debuts at March for Life
Sharing the Pro-Life Message was completed right on time, and League staff brought 500 copies to the 2009 March for Life to give out to pro-life leaders and activists. The very first copy to be given away went to David Bereit, the director of the national 40 Days for Life campaign. David immediately recognized the value a resource like this could have for prayer warriors outside the nation’s abortion facilities.
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade who is now a pro-life activist, were also among the first to receive copies of the handbook. Hundreds more were handed out at pro-life meetings, at screenings of the pro-life film 22 Weeks, at the 36th Annual Rose Dinner and during the March itself. It was a huge hit with all.
After the March, the handbook was released free to the general pro-life public through a new website, FreeProLifeHandbook.com. The first 10,000 copies were distributed in a matter of only a few weeks, thanks to special help from the “Thursday Group” of volunteers who prepared the handbooks for shipping all over the country.
A second printing of 30,000 copies was run, this time on slightly lighter paper, saving on both printing and postage, without sacrificing quality. To date, over 30,000 copies of Sharing the Pro-Life Message have been distributed.
League Handbook Arms Pro-Lifers
The League considers Sharing the Pro-Life Message our “secret weapon” for the difficult years ahead.
“We may not have access to the White House or the big media outlets,” Eric remarked, “but we’ve got the truth—and this handbook will equip pro-life Americans to share that truth. From the college student debating abortion with classmates, to the soccer mom talking with other parents at the game, to the activist on the front lines, Sharing the Pro-Life Message is an indispensable tool.”
To order your own free copy of Sharing the Pro-Life Message, visit FreeProLifeHandbook.com or call the League at 773-777-2900.