By Sammie Gallo, AFL Coordinator of Ministry & Youth Outreach
At last year’s March for Life, pro-life activists marched to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2023 instead of marching to the Supreme Court building. The venue change was symbolic of the pro-life movement’s shift in priorities – shifting from a focus on the nation’s highest court to convincing legislators (and the public) to embrace the position that all life is sacred and should not be dependent on circumstances surrounding conception.
Even after the Dobbs decision, changing hearts and minds is crucial. As someone who is passionate about life and passionate about the next generation, I truly believe that the only way we’re going to make abortion unthinkable in the United States is to really make abortion so unappealing that women genuinely believe there is a better option for them. Even in states like New York, Maryland, and California, where abortion is likely to be legal for the foreseeable future, the goal is to change public sentiment so that people who can access abortions won’t want them – or even need them.
In all of the testimonies I have heard from women, no one grows up wanting an abortion. They’re accessed many times out of desperation and hopelessness by women facing unplanned pregnancies. That’s an important point to recognize because the mainstream media coverage that you’ll see portrays abortion as a “wanted” service by extremists… in reality, it’s the furthest thing from that for the average woman.
In every state, there is a need for the private sector and faith-based programs to work with the government to help provide assistance to women, children, and their families. This is so important because for years, the pro-life movement has been painted as something that it’s not – pro-choice logic will tell you that the only cause that the pro-life movement cares about is unborn babies. Actions taken by pro-life organizations in the past year and, hopefully even more so as we’re moving forward, should show that we care about families, moms, and babies (born or pre-born) tremendously.
Here are a few examples:
- An article in National Review summarized what can be discerned from the annual Gallup Values and Beliefs poll. The number of Americans who identify as pro-life has grown in the past year by four points, from 37% to 41% of the population. A majority of Americans think that abortion should be illegal in the second trimester, and a strong majority believe it should be illegal in the third trimester.
- Not only has public opinion shifted in the wake of the Dobbs decision, but lives have been saved: over 24,000 (according to the statistics organization FiveThirtyEight). An additional 69,000 abortions were performed in pro-abortion states compared to the same time period a year before. BUT, that was more than offset by the over 93,000 fewer abortions performed in pro-life regions.
We must continue to use our time, talent, and treasure to protect the preborn, care for their mothers, and advocate for state laws that protect them both. The most difficult obstacle to the prospect of building a pro-life culture, even in otherwise pro-life states, is the increasing popularity and availability of mail-order abortion pills. These dangerous chemicals, which kill the children and risk the lives and health of their mothers, can be secured at home, often without a doctor’s visit (see our feature on the abortion pill here). According to most estimates, abortions now performed using the abortion pill, which are notoriously difficult to track, now account for over 50% of all abortions.
The rest of us must continue to advocate for the protection of pre-born life, knowing it will take years of political campaigning, legal maneuvering, crisis pregnancy intervention, and care for at-risk moms and babies.
As you wrestle with what it looks like for you and your family to personally live this out, here are some questions for you to consider:
- How do we live our lives in a way that speaks to the innate dignity of every human being (not only in what we say, but in what we do)? Think in the daily and mundane ways – not the big, extravagant ones.
- Do you know the current state of affairs concerning abortion in your own state? Here is a great resource if you’re looking for accurate and educational information: https://www.operationrescue.org/archives/current-gestational-limits-by-state/
- What are some ways that your community and church are advocating for better care for moms and babies – and how can you get involved?