A Day in the Right to Life 

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"There are many things you can do to help further the pro-life effort," Gittrich wrote me in an e-mail. He went on: "Distributing of pro-life literature door-to-door in your neighborhood. We have beautiful bulletin inserts that can be placed in doors OR we have bags of materials that can be hung on door handles. Setting up an educational presentation at your church. We have great speakers who can make a variety of presentations. For example, we can talk to the elderly about end-of-life decisions; to young people about abortion & fetal development as well as dating, modesty, STD's, etc.; to adults about how to answer pro-choice slogans; to adults about what the Bible says about abortion; or a stem cell program titled, 'Massive Cures vs. Massive Catastrophe.' There are also excellent programs on the affects [sic] of abortion on women. You could always conduct an Essay or Poster Contest with the young people in your church. Give away some nice prizes (like free pizza for the family). One church took the winning poster and made it into a billboard which they displayed on their property. I've noticed we need some really good candidates to run for office. Many of the State Representatives in the KC area are in favor of abortion. If you know someone who might think about running for office, let me know. Prayer Chains of any type are very important. You could also assemble some pro-life literature for distributing outside the public high schools on public property. This would of course take place in the fall. Let me know what you think of these ideas, and which ones you might be interested in."

I have to admit feeling pleasantly surprised that in that long list, he failed to instruct this: Stage a formal protest outside of the abortion clinic of your choice. Be sure to spray paint Jesus Fish on the hoods of the murderers' cars, so we'll know to ram them in traffic. But if Gittrich had put the list in order of importance, finding the right candidates for office probably would have come in ahead of prayer chains.

On the golf course, Dan had told me, "It's hard to know who to vote for. People call themselves Republicans. They're not really Republicans. They just use the title in Kansas because they know they need to be Republicans here to get elected."

By that time, I'd also decided that the companies being boycotted were safe to buy from, but I still wanted to know how they felt about being targeted. I sent interview requests to about 25 companies named on the list, including Ralph Lauren and Texaco. Only one responded: Buffalo Wild Wings. A spokeswoman for the corporate sports-bar-and-chicken-wing chain told me the company had already been assured that it would be removed from the boycott list in the next update. She wouldn't say why she thought Buffalo Wild Wings had been placed on the list.

Also reluctant to address abortion were the few clinics that remained open, none of which performed the late-term procedures Tiller had performed. None of them returned calls for this story.


Kansans for Life contacted me a month later to see if I had a Saturday open to work an information booth at Old Shawnee Days, an early summer carnival and fair in the Johnson County suburb.

It was the kind of celebration every town in the world has once a year. There was a tilt-a-whirl and a bounce house. Tables were laid in rows with someone at one selling old spoons made into jewelry; at another, gargantuan smoked-turkey legs that tasted like ham. A man played banjo before a sparse crowd. "How do you know how to tell the Lutherans from the Baptists at the liquor store?" he asked between warped twangs. "The Lutherans are the ones that say hello to each other!"

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