I am often asked about resources available to those that wish to be a part of the life-movement. I find reading to be a useful tool in our work as life advocates. We can debate, argue, or defend our viewpoints all day long, but if our viewpoints are not sculpted through research and scholarship, then they are often nothing more than empty opinions.
This is why I strongly encourage life advocates to put down Twitter (even for a brief moment) and pick up a book. This reading will allow us to carefully craft and dictate our thoughts as we seek to see all life cherished and celebrated.
Anyone can spout off opinions, but a true advocate will take the time to match their views with facts. For it is facts, not bitterness, hate, or disdain for the opposition, that will ultimately see the cultural pendulum find its way to the side of life.
The list below is not exhaustive, but it will be a helpful guide as you begin your journey into pro-life work. These are the books that I have picked up in the past and continue to pick up today as I hone my skills and thoughts on the sanctity of life.
Frankl shares his own story of survival in a Nazi concentration camp. He delicately, yet intimately, details the harrowing experiences he and his fellow prisoners faced on a daily basis. This book and his firsthand account ultimately birthed his theory of Legotherapy. Frankl’s theory is founded on the belief that human nature is motivated by the search for a life purpose. This book does not mention abortion, but it is a thoughtful look at the preciousness of life and the value of it. You will, no doubt, value life more after reading Frankl.
Johnson’s book is a collaboration between many brave women boldly sharing their stories of abortion and its long lasting effects. We hear from patients and clinic workers as they give detailed accounts of the goings on in and around the abortion clinic. These stories are very difficult to read, but they must be heard. You will probably fight back tears and even put this book down for a day or two to collect yourself, but ultimately your desire to stand for life and to love your neighbor will be stronger at the conclusion of this work.
Men are often overlooked when we discuss the lasting effects of abortion. We are told by society that this is a woman’s issue and men need to stay out of it. This line of thinking has left a great deal of damage in its wake. Condon and Hazzard courageously stepped into unchartered territory with this book and gave voice to hundreds of thousands of men that are hurting for the choice they made, the money they spent, or the ride they provided. Abortion is not just a woman’s issue, but affects men as well. This book will open your eyes to the silent hurting of many of our brothers. You can download a free digital copy here.
Schaeffer was a philosopher, theologian, and a life advocate. He was willing to speak out on the abortion issue when many chose to be silent. He refused to let the political dogma surrounding a pro-life ethic handcuff his deep desire to speak for the unborn and our culture’s dive into the “abortion of the human race.” Schaeffer and Koop believed that every nation in every age must be judged by this test: How did it treat people? The answer to this seemingly simple question would determine a nation’s trajectory. They rightly argued, “The final measure of mankind’s humanity is how humanely people treat one another.” If you are a life advocate today this book must be on your shelf of resources. I may go even further to argue it should be on your desk readily available to assist in your work. It is that important.
There are a great many books I could list and one day I may list them all, but I wanted to provide you with four that have been instrumental in the shaping of my views. Sharpening one’s views on life is not optional for those that choose to stand in opposition to the culture of death that is before us. We must educate ourselves before we can ever hope to transform our culture.
I would be remiss to not mention the Bible here. I realize that there are some advocates out there that advocate solely from a secular viewpoint. I am not one of those people. I believe that the abortion issue is a gospel issue. I believe that life has value because of its Creator. Scholarship and research, in my estimation, is not complete without a healthy dose of Scripture. This is the foundation of my worldview and must be included in any list I provide.
I hope these resources will inspire and encourage you to step out and stand for those that are unable to stand for themselves. We do not simply have a responsibility to advocate. No, we have a responsibility to advocate responsibly as we desire to see every life given its proper dignity.
About the guest blogger: Andrew Wood serves as the Executive Director of Hope Resource Center, a pro-life reproductive health clinic in Knoxville, TN. HOPE opened its doors in 1997 seeking to stand for life as they served the most vulnerable in the Knoxville area. HOPE has been blessed to serve over 20,000 patients during that time.