As a woman who stands for Life, I have grown more and more frustrated with the lack of inroads our cause has made. I have come to believe that advocating against abortion is no longer enough. We must re-evaluate our methods, our language, and where we invest our money. I believe that through my proposed methods, we can get the murder of unborn babies to a new, all-time low!
1. STOP BACKING LEGISLATION THAT DOES NOT FORWARD OUR CAUSE
I have simply been shocked at the support in the Pro-Life community for Texas’ HB2 and North Carolina’s SB353. These bills would close abortion clinics, yes, by requiring upgrades that Planned Parenthood simply would not pay for. However, closing clinics does not reduce the number of abortions.
Whoa. Did you catch that?
It sucks, because wouldn’t it be great if we could just overturn Roe vs. Wade, make abortion illegal throughout the entire country, and then, legally, every life would be held as sacred?
This is a very hard pill to swallow, but it has been proven again and again that banning abortion does not reduce the number of abortions. So we may very well cheer the closing of clinics, but are we really saving any infant lives when women will simply seek illegal abortions anyway?
2. SPEAK RESPECTFULLY TO WOMEN
This brings me to my second point of action. We need to speak respectfully to women. We must listen with kindness, understanding, humility, and compassion. I get really sad and upset when I see fellow Pro-Life folks speaking so cruelly with pro-choice folks on Twitter, message boards, etc. Because, you know…I’m a woman! :)
The fact is, women are the ones we need to convince. If banning abortion does not reduce abortion, our cause must become a much more personal and kind one (rather than a legislative one.) Has any mind ever been changed through anger? No. Only through love. And that is something we definitely have on our side!
Whether we like it or not, women are not only the vessels that carry these little miracles, but they are the thoughtful minds in charge of their fate. We must address women as thinking, caring beings despite any variance in opinion.
LET’S GET OUR FACTS STRAIGHT
I have to shake my head in disappointment as I see my fellow Pro-Life folks put up discredited article after discredited article as proof of one idea or another. We don’t have to do this! LIFE IS LIFE. We’ve already got right on our side. We don’t need to lean on articles that don’t hold up to scientific evaluation. What we DO need to do is sound like informed, intelligent people. Here are some points to become educated about:
1. Abortion causes breast cancer
While there is no direct link from abortion to breast cancer, there is from birth to breast cancer. Huh!
2. Abortion can lead to pre-term birth later in life
The earlier the abortion, the less the risk. And most (88%) abortions occur in the 1st trimester. Also, there is NO correlation between medical abortion (pills) and increased chance of pre-term birth. Now, where the risk increases is when a woman has 2 or more abortions.
A Chilean study suggested this, but likely their low rate of maternal death has to do with widespread access to birth-control, sex education, and the widespread use of abortifacient drug misoprostol used illegally.
There is only one scientific article purporting this, and it has been repeatedly cited for poor methodology.
5. Abortion is medically dangerous for women
ILLEGAL abortion can be very dangerous. Legal abortion is very safe.
6. Abortion clinics should be upgraded to ambulatory care centers
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says this is not medically necessary.
3. FUND BIRTH CONTROL
I am completely and utterly FOR birth control. As a married woman with a career, birth control is a gift. Statistically, though, birth control is the best thing we can do to prevent unplanned pregnancies. Which means, fewer abortions! Especially if it is free.
Now, there may be those of you out there that worry about hormonal birth control (rather than barrier methods) is actually abortificient.* I cannot tell you your worries are unfounded. The only fool-proof way to prevent egg fertilization is abstinence, of course. However, I did find these two interesting facts:
Without birth control, a woman’s body naturally expels a fertilized egg between 13% and 26% of the time. In comparison, a woman’s body ON birth control expels a fertilized egg between 1% and 2% of the time.
Now, between 1% and 2% IS NOT ZERO fertilized eggs being expelled from the body. It’s not. But being on birth control actually lessens the number of fertilized eggs being expelled. Ladies TRYING to get pregnant will naturally expel many, many more.
Also, Plan B (the morning after pill) has recently been proven to prevent fertilization, rather than prevent implantation, as previously suspected.
So let’s put our money into making birth control as inexpensive and available as possible, and we will greatly reduce the number of abortions!
*Birth control pills work mostly to prevent ovulation.
4. FUND PRE- AND POST-NATAL CARE
Picture this: you have had the honor of talking to a woman about her plan to abort her baby. Through the conversation, she has changed her mind and desires to continue her pregnancy! Yay! Baby saved!
But what is the next step to keep that baby healthy in his mommy’s belly?
Because so many abortions are chosen for economic reasons, we must address AT THE VERY LEAST the cost of health care for a pregnancy (and beyond. But that is another article!) We cannot simply say, CHOOSE LIFE and then not take care of the unborn baby we’ve just saved.
Lets fund poor women’s doctors appointments, lost wages, rent, healthy food, and medicine for the length of her pregnancy. And lets take care of her health after the baby is born.
5. KEEP RELIGION OUT OF IT
Pro-Life may have a lot of strength in our Christian communities, but Pro-Life is not religious. Believing that every life is sacred is a creed that transcends religion. I truly feel that our faith is not a strong argument for the Pro-Life position.
We live in a country that was founded by Christians and Deists, but they secured freedom of religion for all of its citizens. I truly believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that other religions need to be respected.
Pro-Life is not religious, Christian, or secular. It is a common sense position that needs to be argued in a way that those of all faiths (or none!) can hear.
6. ENOUGH WITH THE GORE
Are pictures of aborted babies truthful? Of course. Are they gory? Of course. Now, I understand the inclination to plaster those gory pictures around the internet for shock value. Let’s get people’s attention! This is important! But unfortunately, that’s all it is: shock value. We need to get smarter about arguing our points and moving people with our words, our compassion, and our clear plans to reduce abortion rather than shocking them with gore.
So I know some of this will probably go against a lot of what we’ve been thinking in the movement for a long time. But I truly believe that if we want to make headway in ACTUALLY REDUCING THE NUMBER OF ABORTIONS AND SAVING THE LIVES OF BABIES, we need to address more cause-and-effect than simply convincing or banning a woman from having an abortion. We need to broaden our scope and put our money and time in the right places. We can do this! Pro-life 4 lyfe!