Pro-life columnists: voices in the wilderness

By Laura Echevarria

Editor’s note. While my family and I are on vacation, we are running some of our favorite NRL News Today stories from the last four months, entries from our “Roe at 40″ series, and an occasional update.

Editor’s note. Although written for the June 2003, edition of National Right to Life News, this profile of Cal Thomas has stayed fresh in my mind. Laura’s story is part of our year-long “Roe at 40” series where we are reprinting some of the best stories from NRL News going back to 1973! I hope you enjoy this and will pass it along using your social networks.

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas

has been a friend of the pro-life movement for many years. With a syndicated op-ed column that appears in over 540 newspapers nationwide, he is a widely read advocate for the unborn child. When Cal called me recently to tell me that the Cincinnati Enquirer had dropped his column in favor of a pro-abortion columnist, you can understand why both Cal and I were disturbed by the paper’s action.

Prior to replacing Cal’s column, the Enquirer had replaced an editor who had been very sympathetic to the pro-life movement. Cal was concerned that his voice would no longer be heard in the Cincinnati area and the impact that could have on issues such as ours. Replacing a sympathetic editor didn’t help our cause either.

Will the Enquirer’s action develop into a trend? I hope not.

What happens at one paper could indicate the beginning of a trend or could be an isolated case. To ensure the existence of a pro-life voice in the community and to continue to have columnists like Cal Thomas, it is important that we tell local papers (and radio/ television stations) when we like the commentators they feature and that columns like Cal’s are one of the first things we look for when we open the paper in the morning.

Syndicated columnists (and talk show hosts) have the coverage they do because a paper gets a positive response from readers.

A newspaper will purchase a column from a syndication company only if it feels it is of interest to its readers. The newspaper will continue carrying it as long as they feel the column is of interest. To keep productive, pro-life writers like Cal Thomas widely read, we have to let our local papers know that we are interested in reading what he, and others like him, have to say.

Write your local paper to express your appreciation for the pro-life columnist it features: let the editors know that you look forward to reading this columnist’s writing. If your paper does not carry such a columnist, ask it to carry a column that reflects your voice and your view of the world in which we live. Cal may no longer be a pro-life voice in Cincinnati, but maybe he or someone like him can be a pro-life voice in your community. There are over 1,500 daily papers in the United States. While many of them carry a columnist like Cal Thomas, many of them also carry pro-abortionists such as Molly Ivins or Bill Press.

After you’ve written the letter thanking your local paper, take the time to send a note to your favorite columnist thanking him or her for the work he or she has done on behalf of the pro-life movement. You can check with your local paper for contact information for your favorite columnist or look him or her up on the Internet. Many of them can be reached through e-mail.

So often, the media gives us negative or unsympathetic coverage and it’s wonderful to be able to pick up the paper and read something that represents the views of the pro-life movement. We need to do all we can to ensure that these voices continue to be heard.