Abortion-on-demand has been legal in America for thirty-one years. Many pro-lifers are tempted to say that we are losing this battle against abortion.
But the reality is that we are winning. More than thirty years after the “definitive” ruling by the United States Supreme Court, the issue of abortion is very far from being settled. Not a day goes by without mention of abortion in the news. Even the fact that President George W. Bush recently signed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban is a sign that the majority of Americans think we’ve gone too far, and that they want abortion reined in.
Partial Birth Abortion Victory
From a public relations perspective, the eight-year battle to ban a late term abortion procedure brought much media attention. Except for extreme feminist groups, few support partial birth abortion. The logical progression is that people will start to question other late term abortions and ultimately all abortions.
The debate on partial birth abortion had the advantage of exposing the extremism of abortion adovcates.
The debate on partial birth abortion had the advantage of exposing the extremism of abortion advocates. It is clear even to those outside of the active pro-life movement that abortion supporters are not concerned with “choice.” They are obsessed with keeping abortion wide open, unrestricted and available throughout pregnancy.
Pro-abortion groups challenge all attempts to provide women with reasonable information on fetal development, complications of abortion and alternatives to abortion. They oppose parental notification bills, twenty-four hour waiting periods, health inspections and any measure that would invite scrutiny into the abortion industry.
Pro-Aborts Losing Support
But the vigilance and persistence of pro-life activists have kept the public fully aware of the goals of the abortion industry. From a high of more than 2,000 abortion mills in the United States in 1979, there are now only about 750. The abortion industry itself is quite vocal about the difficulty it has recruiting abortionists. They have tried forcing medical schools to teach the procedure. They have proposed having physician assistants and midwives, instead of doctors, perform abortions. Some of the more radical women’s groups promote do-it-yourself abortion kits.
Planned Parenthood’s funding from corporate grants has dropped dramatically because pro-lifers have convinced corporate boards of Planned Parenthood’s agenda and have boycotted companies that fund Planned Parenthood. U. S. funding for abortion in foreign aid packages is gone, while funds for contraceptive programs have been reduced.
There is still much to be done to rid society of this blight, but many communities have taken initiative and kept clinics out of their areas and many have actually closed down Planned Parenthood centers. Four Planned Parenthood clinics closed in one week recently in Indiana and Ohio. Contractors in Texas have refused to build a new abortion mill in Austin.
Face the Truth Campaign Spreading
If one is looking only to Washington DC or the state legislatures for signs of victory for the pro-life movement, one might be tempted to be disheartened, but if you are not pinning your hopes purely on politics there is much to be celebrated.
Every time a Truth Tour is held someone chooses life for her baby instead of abortion.
Perhaps the most effective opposition to abortion has come from the activist branch of the pro-life movement. All across the country, pro-lifers have taken to the streets with photographs that show how ugly abortion is. In these Face the Truth tours, activists stand along the highway with huge signs depicting abortion at all stages — first, second and third trimester abortions. No one who sees these pictures can deny that abortion kills a human being. If people insist on remaining “pro-choice,” at least they now know what that choice involves. The pictures are burned into their memories.
While the Pro-Life Action League has used graphic pictures at its pickets from the beginning, we were introduced to the Face the Truth approach by Missionaries to the Preborn in Wisconsin. In an effort to unmask Planned Parenthood, Pastor Matt Trewhella toured Wisconsin with the large graphic signs and literature exposing PP’s origins and plans to further undermine the family.
Witnessing the powerful effect of the sight of large graphic abortion signs along the roads, we decided to promote Face the Truth on a nationwide basis. The Pro-Life Action League held its first Face the Truth Tour in the summer of 2000 in Illinois, Indiana and southern Wisconsin. The League produced an 11-minute video and a free booklet to expand the popularity of this highly effective way to communicate the pro-life message.
An integral part of the Face the Truth effort is the distribution of pro-life literature. Volunteers give pro-life brochures to both pedestrians and passing motorists, explaining the reasons for displaying the graphic pictures and giving basic information on abortion and the alternatives that are available. Thousands of people are educated during the course of a Face the Truth tour, which usually spans five to ten days.
Face the Truth Saves Lives
Not only does Face the Truth do an excellent job of educating people who would normally not seek out a pro-life group, but many lives are saved on the spot! Every time a Truth Tour is held someone chooses life for her baby instead of abortion. Last summer in Chicago as many as twenty babies were saved during our ten-day tour. In one case, a young man saw the abortion signs, brought his wife out from a nearby laundromat so she could see what abortion was. She had wanted an abortion, but when she saw the pictures she changed her mind. An abortion clinic would not have told her what the abortion would do to her baby. Even many pro-life pregnancy centers are hesitant to show a pregnant woman what an abortion really does. Face the Truth saved her baby’s life and saved her from a lifetime of regret and remorse. This happens over and over.
Face the Truth does not make the pro-life activist popular. Businesses are not thrilled to have large graphic abortion signs appear on their streets. Even some pro-lifers are uncomfortable with the display. But as long as the media refuse to tell the truth about abortion it is the mission of the pro-life movement to do the job.
Public Opinion Leaning Pro-Life
As a result of the combined efforts of the various ministries in the pro-life movement, Truth tours, sidewalk counseling and leafleting neighborhoods, public opinion is moving to the pro-life side. The latest polls indicate that over 50% of Americans now consider abortion to be murder! And 80% of all Americans believe there should be significant restrictions on the availability of abortion.
People do not want to live in a culture of death. They are beginning to choose life.
Much of the credit for this shift in attitude is due to a better educated public. From the discussions of the partial birth abortion ban to the display of pictures of aborted babies, we can now say with confidence that most Americans now know what abortion is. Even the secular press has helped us with their enthusiastic portrayal of intrauterine life through the use of 3-D ultrasound.
And when people know the truth about abortion they are disgusted by it. Once a person has seen a photograph of an actual abortion, he can never forget that picture. It will be more difficult to justify the choice of abortion and there will be more motivation to consider the choice of life.
Pro-Life Movement Expanding
Pro-life is on the move. Young people are being drawn to the movement and its message of hope. Women who have had abortions are speaking out against it and admitting publicly that they regret their abortions. There are thousands of pro-life groups working to end abortion in America. Some of their work is research, statistical analysis, lobbying, writing anti-abortion legislation, supporting pro-life candidates, and assisting pregnant women. And pro-life activism has had a rebirth.
The Supreme Court victory in NOW v. Scheidler has freed up activists to boldly protest abortion and to increase their sidewalk counseling and prayer vigils at abortion clinics. The Supreme Court confirmed that pro-lifers are entitled to exercise their first amendment rights as U. S. citizens and has given a new legitimacy to pro-life demonstrations. The NOW decision has dispelled the fears and concerns that had arisen in the wake of the Rescue movement and the passage of the FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) bill, as well as the use of the RICO statute to suppress pro-life activism.
The pro-life movement has learned a lot in the past thirty years. Some approaches have been tried and abandoned as impractical or ineffective. Some have been expanded because they have been successful. A few people have become discouraged, but most are full of hope for an ultimate victory over abortion.
Pope John Paul II has been an enormous influence as the person who coined the phrase and concept, “Culture of Life.” People do not want to live in a culture of death. As they are coming to know the truth about abortion, they are beginning to choose life.
Links and Related Articles
- Pro-life movement is winning—Salt Lake Trib article by Cal Thomas