How the pro-life movement is winning American hearts and minds

Special to

By Grace Vuoto

This year the annual March for Life in the nation’s capital, the largest anti-abortion rally in the world with about 600,000 attendees, marks a milestone: public opinion in America is changing as the pro-life movement gains more adherents.

Since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in America in 1973, approximately 55 million abortions have been performed. These figures are staggering.

Pope Francis tweeted on Jan. 22, 2014: "“I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”
Pope Francis tweeted on Jan. 22, 2014: ““I join the March for Life in Washington with my prayers. May God help us respect all life, especially the most vulnerable.”

“Think about it – in 2008, more children died from abortion than Americans died in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Gulf War combined,” said Missouri Rep. Vicky Hartzler in an impassioned speech on the National Mall during the rally held on Jan. 22. “This must stop!”

Who needs enemies? In 2008, 825, 564 babies were aborted, according to the Centers for Disease Control; this easily trumps the 621, 515 total casualties of the seven wars listed above. With these statistics, it is clear the depletion of human capital enacted through abortion is an even greater long-term national security threat than any other mortal enemy we face. No foreign or domestic foe has ever been as deadly to our population as what we are dong systematically to ourselves.

However, at last, a growing number of states are placing limits on abortion. Conservatives made headway in state legislatures across America in the 2010 mid-term elections and were subsequently able to use their power to enact pro-life legislation. Between 2011 and 2013, more state-level restrictions were placed on abortion than in the previous decade, according to a Jan. 22 report on the March for Life rally in The Washington Post.

Public opinion is gradually changing too. A recent Fox News Poll indicates 48 percent of Americans say they are pro-life and 45 percent state they are pro-choice; a Gallup poll in May 2013 also had the exact same findings. This marks a dramatic shift from Gallup polling in 1996 in which 37 percent of respondents said they are pro-life and 56 percent said they are pro-choice. Also, 62 percent of respondents state abortion is “morally wrong,” according to a recent Maris poll.

The polls consistently show a growing regard for the baby in the womb, even among those who identify themselves as pro-choice. A December 2012 Gallup poll reveals 61 percent of respondents said abortion should be legal in the first trimester but only 27 percent said abortion should be legal in the second trimester and even less, 14 percent, said it should be legal in the third trimester. Hence even abortion adherents agree the baby should not be killed after three months of pregnancy. There is an increasing perception that the entity growing in the womb deserves legal protection.

The Republican Party is currently encouraging candidates to stand firm on the issue. For the first time in its history, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus delayed the start of the party’s annual winter meeting so he and his members could officially join the rally; the RNC even chartered a bus to the event for its members. Also, instead of cowering to the Democrats’ strategy of depicting the GOP as waging a “war on women,” Republican candidates are being advised by RNC committeewoman from Delaware Ellen Barosse to be combative on the issue, as successful pro-life governors have been.

“It sounds so radical, but look at the Republican governors in the Midwest. They’re all pro-life, and they don’t get any of this ‘war on women’ guff because their opponents know that they’ll take it in the teeth if they try it,” said Ms. Barosse in an interview. She sponsored an RNC resolution urging candidates not to remain silent on the issue.

What accounts for this burgeoning, confident pro-life movement?

There are several kinds of arguments that are winning hearts and minds. The first is the growing ability of the pro-life movement to humanize the child in the womb. This consists of referencing the scientific data that tells us what the child looks like early in its development and what features are developed in the first weeks of pregnancy. Science is vividly confirming what pro-lifers have long maintained: It is not a blob in the womb; it is a tiny, beautiful baby right from the beginning.

As Fox News analyst Brit Hume brilliantly put it in a recent broadcast of Special Report with Bret Baier: “…science has given us an ever clearer picture of just how much of a baby a fetus is. At 20 weeks, we now know, these tiny creatures can hear, even recognize a mother’s voice. Their toenails are growing and their hearts beat loud enough to be heard by a stethoscope.”

Humanizing the baby also means using the correct terminology: baby not “fetus,” murder not “choice,” destruction of human life not “reproductive health;” crushing the most vulnerable not “planned parenthood.”

Humanizing the baby includes showcasing the children who were brought to life after a crisis pregnancy and who were then adopted. They are a living, breathing embodiment of the right choice to make. Adoption was in fact the theme of this year’s March for Life rally, in attempt to broaden the appeal of the movement.

In addition to humanizing the baby tin the womb, pro-life advocates are making progress in teaching women that having an abortion may result in life-long physical, emotional or psychological consequences—or all of these at once. In other words, it is not even in a woman’s self-interest to kill the baby in the womb; it does not solve “the problem” during a crisis pregnancy. Instead, after an abortion, there is usually tremendous guilt and remorse that plagues the perpetrator of the violent act for decades to come. Many females who cavalierly commit the deed are later shocked at how traumatic the event is—and how lasting are its implications.

Websites that provide anonymous post-abortion testimonies are emerging. The Abortion Survivor’s Network, Priests for Life and Hope after Abortion allow those who have killed their babies to come forward and explain their emotions. Their testimony is far more powerful than the vacuous pro-choice mantra we have heard ad nauseam that tells women they can do whatever they want with their body. Many of these testimonies reveal that when a woman chooses abortion, she often incurs life-long anguish, painful and relentless remorse, even to the point of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Another key feature of the pro-life movement is the growing grasp of the phenomenon of gendercide.

Abortion is increasingly being recognized as the most anti-feminist weapon ever invented. Around the world, especially in China, India, Taiwan, Singapore, the western Balkans and the Caucasus, more girls are aborted than boys precisely because the parents prefer to parent boys and they devalue females. This even affects the Asian-American community. It is estimated by experts on the topic such as Mara Hvistendahl, author of Unnatural Selection (2011), that approximately 163 million baby girls have been victims of gendercide in the past three decades. Hence, abortion permits the systemic destruction of the female population. Abortion is therefore more misogynistic than any other previous kind of female oppression.

Finally, what about the fathers of these aborted babies? The pro-life movement has yet to fully embrace their needs and rights in the slaughter of their unborn children—an act over which they have no control. This presents another venue for adding restrictions on killing babies. Fathers ought to have equal rights in the decision as women; they do so when babies are born so why not before that? It should be made illegal to abort the baby if the father opposes this, as it his progeny too. Fathers have by and large been ignored in this discussion. The more we include them, the greater the chances of further delaying and impeding the killing of babies as we attempt to reduce and ultimately eliminate the number of abortions.

All of these arguments are giving us the high moral ground — a position which will eventually lead to success. Slavery was abolished once the slaves were fully humanized in the public arena. The more we do this for babies, the more the abominable practice of abortion will be recognized for what it is — the heinous destruction of the most beautiful amongst us and an act that is far beneath our social standards.

Women indeed have many choices — until the moment of conception. After that, it should be illegal to infringe upon the rights of another person, no matter how tiny he or she is.

Let us proclaim loudly until we win the day: The power of life and death belongs to God and God alone.

Grace Vuoto is the Editor of Politics and Culture at World Tribune, host of American Heartland with Dr. Grace on WTSB Radio and is the founder of the Edmund Burke Institute for American Renewal.