Frederica Mathewes-Green, author and former leader of Feminists for Life, said, "No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice-cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg. Abortion is a tragic attempt to escape a desperate situation by an act of violence and self-loss." These words are the heart's cry most of the estimated 400,000 plus Americans (mostly under the age of thirty) who will join together in the March for Life in Washington on January 25. We will remember and mourn the 52 million abortions performed in the United States since the Roe v. Wade decision forty years ago. We believe that abortion ultimately hurts women as well as destroys another human life. We believe that being Pro-Life is being Pro-Woman.
This is a difficult time for the pro-life movement. Our sadness is heighted by the second inauguration of the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history – the one who when asked four years ago when life begins joked that the question was "above his pay grade" and then proceeded to do everything in his power to support Big Abortion, the billion-dollar industry that profits from women's lost, pre-born lives, including exporting our tax dollars abroad for those purposes.
We are faced this week with the juxtaposition of wrong-headed national leadership and the grim fortieth anniversary of one of the most divisive Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history
Even the most unapologetic pro-choicers must rue the FACT that in the U.S. 1.2 million abortions are performed each year (well over forty percent of which are repeat abortions, according to the left-leaning Guttmacher Institute). Just looking at those numbers alone would leave one to believe that the right to life, which was specifically enumerated in the Declaration of Independence, is a lost cause. However, when examined more closely, a different picture emerges – and one so clear that that Time Magazine declared this month in bold headlines "What Choice? Abortion-rights activists won an epic victory in Roe v. Wade. They've been losing ever since."
That is true. Many Americans question the abortion on demand credo of abortion, anyone, anytime, anywhere, especially when they learn the extremes of elective and selective abortion, including those done late in the pregnancy, because the sex of the baby is not desired (most often, a female), and to married women who regard this as one too many or an unplanned inconvenience. Sonograms and 4D images of fetal development have upended the "out of sight, out of mind" argument that sustained the abortion rights movement for decades. And despite their phony "war on women" concocted to distract people from the Obama Economy, the abortion industry seems to be in a tailspin because the American public isn't buying the lie.
The majority of Americans believe that this is a baby and refuse the pro-choice label (59% Gallup). The "problem" for them is even more pronounced among young people with numbers as high as 72%, according to Gallup, saying abortion is morally wrong.
Big Abortion's biggest player, Planned Parenthood, is responsible for one of every four abortions performed in the U.S., yet, according to Planned Parenthood's own annual reports, we still lavish them with over a half a billion dollars a year in taxpayer money. Pro-life taxpayers cannot exempt themselves from bankrolling the travesty. Cecile Richards should have to raise her own budget the way pro-life organizations do. Why should we all be held complicit in their dirty work?
The real action on abortion, like the real action on most major issues, is happening in the states. In 2011 alone, a record high ninety-two state laws were passed placing reasonable limits on abortion on demand in twenty-four states. These include clinic regulations that will keep women safe and minimal standards for the abortionists, like the requirement that they have admitting privileges at an area hospital. Other commonsense reforms include parental notification laws and right-to-know laws. Several others have banned abortions after twenty weeks. Four states – North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Arkansas – are down to just one abortion clinic, proving once again that public opinion is upstream of public policy. It will be exciting to see how the nation's change of heart continues to impact our laws in the next five years.
Yep, the pro-aborts have an image problem. Apparently, most people don't really think abortion is a noble cause. What to do? Like any major corporation receiving bailout money from the feds, rebranding is the next step. Using your tax dollars, they are already testing terms like "reproductive justice" and "reproductive health" and even "women's health." They know the public squirms when faced with their product and its results, and so they hide behind unobjectionable, albeit disingenuous, phrases like "women's health." To employ that with a straight face, they should be forced to include issues that actually impact ALL women's health more commonly, e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and nutrition, long-term care.
Big Abortion lies when they say that without them, poor women would be without basic health services, including birth control, is patently false. The U.S. spends $2.37 billion per year on those services, both through Title X clinics and community health centers. Community health centers alone offer at least fourteen delivery sites in each state, with most having at least forty, according the Department of Health and Human Services. There is no dearth of birth control in this nation. There is also no shortage of people who confuse the abortion industry's carefully crafted message with the reality that abortion, not mammograms or menopause medicine, is their cash cow.
Pro-life organizations are often accused of caring for the mother only until she gives birth. The opposite is true. Millions of pro-life Americans hold that opinion not just for the love of the baby but for the mother, too. A recent meta-analysis of twenty-two abortion studies, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry by American researcher Dr. Priscilla Coleman, showed that women who undergo an abortion face an eighty-one percent increase in risk of mental health problems. The study linked abortion to increase risk of anxiety disorders, depression, alcohol abuse, and even suicide.
Take a moment and read some of the heart-wrenching stories of regret from women who anonymously post on the website silentnomoreawareness.org. Is there anyone reading this who does not know a woman who has not experienced deep regret and even lost motherhood due to their abortions? Occasionally, I meet women who are extremely proud of their abortions.
Our community has invested in options including adoption services, parenting support, counseling, and fully licensed health clinics called pregnancy care clinics. The pro-life community has been the one to bring women in need into our homes and churches. We are the ones who help them find jobs, buy them food, drive them places, and help them sort out their messy lives. We are the ones who hold the post-abortive woman while she cries and teach her about God's grace and forgiveness.
We cannot grow weary. We must do more. Being pro-life is being pro-woman. And 52 million "choices" – abortions – should be seen as a scourge, not as a down payment on another 40 years of turning a blind eye to what the image on the screen really is.