Tenderness and the Toy Solider

By Dave Andrusko

Toronto’s Niagara Region Right to Life describes its primary aim as  “the dissemination of public information on the core human rights of our time.” As you can see from this billboard, the group knows how to touch the heart and the head with powerful messages that gently persuade.

“Some Toys Will Have Fewer Children to Play With this Year” is not a new billboard.  I took a few minutes out and found (to my surprise) that we first ran this image on the back cover of National Right to Life News on December 7, 1981, three months after I had become editor! 

I am not kidding when I say that over the years the billboard has evoked some of the worse responses from our benighted opposition that I’ve ever read. Why do pro-abortionists rage against the Toy soldier?

My guess is it’s for the same reason that pro-lifers, like the Toy Soldier, will shed a tear: joy, innocence, and (worse, from the pro-abortionist’s view point) tenderness.

As a friend described it to me, “The billboard drives the pro-choice side crazy and makes pro-lifers smile because of the implicit message that children are delightfully winsome creatures who play with toys and bring joy and innocence into this jaded and materialistic world.”

The image of the toy missing “his” child softens even the hardest of hearts which evokes a reflexive, almost blind anger in the more-and-more-abortions-forever-and-ever crowd against you and me. How dare those pro-lifers……dare what?

Underneath the sputtering is a grudging admission that images such as these cut through the layer upon layer of calluses that have grown up around our hearts. Once removed we are able to see that abortion does not mean the gentle exercise of some abstraction called “choice.” Abortion means the brutal execution of a real live baby.

On its webpage Niagara Region Right to Life says “The harm that abortion inflicts on women and their families is incalculable. Its coarsening of politics and civic life is undeniable.”

Perhaps, just perhaps, images like the tearful Toy Soldier will guide us, in the process helping to soften our harsh and unloving responses to the most defenseless among us.

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