The Rev. Jerry Falwell, founder of The Moral Majority, leader of Liberty Baptist, a Christian fundamentalist college in Lynchburg, Va.. and fierce opponent of abortion, met Merle Hoffman, Executive Director of CHOICES, for the first time on station WXYZ-TV in Detroit. The two debated, in front of a live audience, a woman’s right to choose abortion.
Ms. Hoffman, who has debated and won the respect of many Moral Majority and right-to-life leaders, spoke eloquently of the inalienable right of all women to control their own destiny. She repeatedly asked the Reverend to address the critical causes of unwanted pregnancies such as harsh economic realities, inadequate, ineffective and unsafe birth control methods, and lack of realistic sex education for teenagers.
Rev. Falwell responded by constantly trying to interrupt Ms. Hoffman with quotations from the Bible and accused her of being responsible for the murder of thousands of babies. Ms. Hoffman, equipped with quotations of her own, passionately assured the audience that the question of the beginning of life was a matter of individual conscience and that the whole issue of abortion involved women and their right to choose.