Pro-Life Battle to Stop Abortion Not a Sprint, It’s a Marathon

Opinion   |   Sarah Ryan   |   Aug 1, 2011   |   11:31AM   |   Washington, DC

When I joined the pro-life movement a few years ago as a high school senior, I thought the task at hand was clear, but daunting: overturn Roe v. Wade. What I didn’t realize is that the movement to end abortion is just that – a movement, a shift, a gradual realignment of our society’s priorities.

This shift not only includes our laws, but the culture we live in – a culture that accepts and promotes acts of violence against the most vulnerable and innocent.  I quickly learned that overturning the unconstitutional Supreme Court ruling would not instantly create a life-respecting utopia where every child, planned or unplanned, would be seen as a blessing.  I realized that conquering the culture of death is not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

The tireless efforts of the American Pro-Life movement are not going unnoticed.  Through our passion and by maintaining a deliberate pace, we are advancing toward the finish line.  With eighty abortion restrictions enacted in the first six months of 2011, there is no denying that we are doing something right. The proof is in the report recently released by Planned Parenthood’s research wing, the Guttmacher Institute.  The report provides a snapshot of the recently enacted Pro-Life policies which both protect women and children, and hinder the abortion industry’s interests.

Efforts to empower women have been made in nineteen states by introducing bills that require that the sonogram image of the mother’s child be made visible to her.  Abortion advocates have rallied against ultrasound requirements, claiming that the sonogram would be an added cost to the procedure.  Yet, an ultrasound is necessary to accurately determine the child’s gestational age; when it comes to medicine and surgery, accuracy is always in the patient’s best interest.

The ultrasound not only helps the woman by giving her an awareness of her body and the body of her child, but also allows her to give her fully informed consent to the procedure.  An ultrasound is not an obstacle to overcome in the process of abortion, but rather a standard cautionary procedure to be considered on behalf of the doctor, mother, and child.  If the abortion industry were truly interested in a woman’s reproductive health, they would be more than willing to perform an ultrasound because doing so helps catch any potential reproductive issues, such as uterine cancer, in order to help her when she does feel ready for the “planned parenthood” they promote.

Perhaps the abortion industry fears that ultrasounds will encourage women to choose life and take their money elsewhere.

After all, according to a non-profit organization that operates ultrasound-equipped vehicles, ICU Mobile, more than 70% of abortion minded women choose life after seeing live images of a squirming little baby.  The position of abortion advocates against ultrasound legislation rejects the technological advances of modern medicine that allow us a “window to the womb.”  They also discount the dignity and capacity of women to make truly informed decisions.  Currently, ultrasound legislation has been passed and enacted in AL, AZ, FL, IN, KS, and TX.

Another stride we are taking toward ending abortion is legislation that bans abortions after the child reaches 20 weeks, the age at which it can be proven that the child in the womb begins to feel pain.

Nebraska successfully passed the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” into law in 2010 and many other states are following suit.  Fetal pain protection acknowledges the humanity of the unborn child, and recognizes his unique sensory experiences in utero. This allows women to relate to the child on a more personal level.

The Nebraska law makes exception for two reasons: 1) If a mother has a “condition which so complicates her medical condition as to necessitate the abortion of her pregnancy to avert death or to avert serious risk of substantial or irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” and 2) if the abortion “is necessary to preserve the life of an unborn child.”  The latter exception is quite ironic.  It would seem that the author of this exception is unfamiliar with the very nature of abortion; abortion is the opposite of life “preservation.”  The only conceivable condition that would supposedly demand abortion as a means of unborn life preservation would be in the difficult, and certainly rare, case of multiple child pregnancies where the abortion of one child is deemed necessary for the other(s) to survive. In the first 6 months of this year, fifteen states, including AL, ID, IN, KS, and OK, introduced legislation similar to the Nebraska law.

In the past six months, states have taken measures to introduce mothers to their own children before making a decision on behalf of an innocent life; expressly informing women of the risks they are being exposed to at the hand of the abortionist; and protect defenseless children from legalized abuse and death.  Also, we are even closer to getting our tax dollars out of Planned Parenthood’s pockets.  According to the Susan B. Anthony List, states have already successfully defunded Planned Parenthood of 60 million dollars.

Though being a young Pro-Life American may sometimes feel countercultural and even become exhausting, it is important – and motivating – for us to look at the journey that has led us to this time of many successes. We are trying to reverse the past 38 years of abortion on demand.  I take heart because we are heading in the right direction.  We have to keep our chins up and take every reasonable step to promote the dignity of every person.  These steps may lead us to lobby before Congress, to pray on sidewalks, to teach in the classrooms, or to support a pregnancy center.  All of these paths are headed in the right direction and that is towards human dignity, truth, and love.  “The truthful witness saves lives…” (Prov. 14:25). Note: Sarah Ryan, a Young Scholar of HLI America, is from Allen, Texas, and is currently a junior studying social work at Texas State University where she is President of “Bobcats for Life.” Sarah’s passion for defending life emerged through education on pro-life issues, beginning with personal research in high school and more recently cultivated through Texas Right to Life’s Generation Now Scholarship Program. After college, Sarah hopes to become a social worker and mother while continuing to further the pro-life message. Article originally published at HLI America’s Truth and Charity Forum.