Walter Hoye

Personhood: Legal Tactics

In Abortion, Personhood on December 19, 2011 at 1:31 am

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Personhood: Legal Tactics

“A rift over legal tactics has split the Pro-Life movement” 1

Vision, Strategy, and Tactics

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." — King Solomon (Proverbs 29:18)

Legal EyesVision is defined as your dream of the future. Strategy is defined as your long-range plan to make the dream happen so it may need to change in response to internal or external conditions, but strategy changes should only happen with considerable thought. Tactics are defined as the specific actions you will take to achieve your strategy. Tactics are the most flexible. If a tactic isn’t working, adjust it and try again. It is often recommended to start with a vision (Proverbs 29:18) and then work down to the tactics. While strategy and tactics can and should change over time, your vision will be the anchor that holds the strategies and tactics together when the waves get high and the storm billows blow.

Legal Tactics

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory." — Sun Tzu (孫子) ·

Legal EyesLegal tactics in opposition to legalized abortion include promoting the Pro-Life position to the public, electing and lobbying public officials, mass demonstrations, literature distribution, sidewalk counseling, supporting pregnancy care centers, public and/or private prayer vigils, graphic signs, and even specialty license plates. All have their place. All have their strengths. All have their weaknesses. All have their ardent followers. All have their opponents.

Time and Tactics

Today it’s been 14,203 days or thirty-eight (38) years, ten (10) months and twenty (20) days since Monday, January 22nd, 1973. Things change. Since Roe v. Wade and Doe V. Bolton we have lost the lives of over fifty-five (55) million babies and counting to surgical abortions during all nine (9) months of pregnancy alone. Right now, abortions are declining by just 1.2% a year. 2 At that rate, it will take nearly one hundred (100) years to cut the annual death toll in half and two hundred (200) years to end abortion on demand all together. As I write this column, I am aware that Black America has lost over twenty (20) million of the over fifty-five (55) million lives lost to abortion and at the rate we are aborting our children, I am painfully aware that we won’t last another 100 years. If vision must be held on to. If strategy must be reviewed and reworked. If the Pro-Life movement is going to effect her strategy and achieve her vision of a world that respects life at all stages of development by love and by law, our tactics must be flexible.

The Art Of War

"Therefore, when I have won a victory I do not repeat my tactics but respond to circumstances in an infinite variety of ways." — Sun Tzu (孫子) ·

Sun Tzu, Art Of WarIn the Pro-Life movement there is a “rift over legal tactics” among sincere and dedicated warriors. Many favor an all-out legal attack on Roe. v. Wade. However, at least twenty-five (25) cases 3 and briefs attempting to overturn Roe v. Wade including those cases and briefs arguing Fourteenth (14th) Amendment Personhood have been filed to no avail. Others favor strategies and tactics that install state laws that reduce, regulate or restrict abortion in an effort to chip away at Roe until higher polls and more political equity is in place to end legalized abortion. Still others favor and embrace strategies and tactics that do not include walking through the front door of the Supreme Court and arguing their case before the Bench.

We Wrestle Not Again Flesh And Blood

It’s easy to see the wisdom in the above quote. Sun Tzu, the celebrated military general and strategist who authored the definitive military treatise entitled “The Art of War,” clearly points out the need to be creative when developing strategies and tactics. However, it’s the words of the Apostle Paul to the angel of the church in Ephesus that come to my mind today. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” 4 “There is utterly a fault among us.” 5 So we must “try every spirit” 6 and stop fighting one another. It’s time we all work together as the Body of Christ, fight sin from every vantage point as God has gifted each of us to do so, leave the results to God and give Him the glory for the great things He has done. Because “… whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” 7

Brothers, we really need to talk.

· Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”, is an ancient Chinese military treatise that is attributed to Sun Tzu (also referred to as “Sunzi” and “Sun Wu”). It is one of the oldest and most successful books on military strategy in the world. (
1. Erik Eckholm, “Anti-Abortion Groups Are Split on Legal Tactics”, New York Times, 12/04/2011 (
2. Dennis M. Howard, Founder and President of Movement for a Better Amrica, “Yes, we can end abortion within your lifetime and mine” (
3. Cases & Briefs Attempting to Overturn Roe v. Wade and/or arguing 14th Amendment Personhood, [Ordered by date of United States Supreme Court disposition with most recent first], June 15th, 2011 (
4. Ephesians 6:12, King James Version of The Bible (
5. 1st Corinthians 6:7a, King James Version of The Bible (
6. 1st John 4:1, King James Version of The Bible (
7. Romans 14:23, King James Version of The Bible (


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