For more than four decades, pro-lifers have been characterized as advocates for the unborn. Our messaging has been baby-focused, and understandably so: Preborn children are the fatalities of the greatest human rights atrocity in history. But in the process of fighting for the child’s right to life, we have often, by extension, downplayed the betrayal of the woman—abortion’s other victim. And along the way, members of America’s mushy middle—those ripe for the picking by ideologues on either side of the abortion debate—have witnessed the pro-life movement engage in a seeming willingness to sacrifice women in exchange for their babies.
Indeed, roughly half of America self-identifies as pro-choice even though only a very small minority favor abortion for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy (as federal law, in keeping with the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court cases of 1973, permits).1 Pro-lifers, touting heavily baby-focused messaging, have at times made themselves a pariah compared to the pink, pro-woman messaging touted by the abortion industry.
Big Abortion has been a willing beneficiary of our failure to include women as much in our rhetoric as we do in our activism. They have rushed to capitalize on the despair of tens of millions of pregnant American women who have somehow been made to feel, by the unwitting collusion of the pro- and anti-life messages, that the abortion industry had a better product for them. It’s time to reclaim American opinion by embracing pro-woman rhetoric. Woman-focused messaging is the pro-life movement’s winning strategy for engaging mushy-middle Americans in the culture war for life, and for helping women to reject the false promises of the abortion industry.
Myriad factors influence how the dueling rallying cries evolved, with pro-lifers speaking for babies and abortion pushers speaking for women. To say that pro-lifers do not care about women would be a gross inaccuracy. Likewise, we do not value the life of a child over that of his mother. In fact, our fight for the equal rights of all humans plants pro-life advocates in the line of the early Suffragists and feminist foremothers, who roundly rejected the notion that abortion is a boon to women.2 But sadly, while our actions within the pro-life movement—namely our massive network of outreach and support for pregnant women—testify to a deeply pro-woman agenda, our rhetoric has failed to keep pace with that reality.
From the early days of the abortion debate, our baby-focused rhetoric foundered against the widely-embraced doctrine of the sexual revolution, that children were an obstacle to women’s success. This weakness in our messaging would persist into succeeding generations. The rift between women and their offspring created by the sexual revolution’s marriage to the women’s movement cannot be understated.
As sex strayed from the confines of marriage and assumed the status of recreational activity, women faced the challenge of suppressing their fertility. Contraceptives were widely available, but were not without significant failure rates. The uptick in uncommitted sex and flawed contraceptives coalesced to create a strong demand for elective abortion. Thus, abortion was branded a necessity to the modern, sexually “liberated” woman, and was anointed by the misguided architects of the revolution as the ultimate guarantor of sexual freedom.3
In 1992, Frederica Mathewes-Green delineated the predicament created by the sexual revolution in a piece entitled, Abortion: Women’s Rights and Wrongs. She wrote:
Re-emerging feminism was concerned chiefly with opening doors for women to professional and public life, and later embraced advocacy of sexual freedom as well. Yet participation in public life is significantly complicated by responsibility for children, while uncommitted sexual activity is the most effective way of producing unwanted pregnancies. This dilemma—simultaneous pursuit of behaviors that cause children and that are hampered by children—inevitably finds its resolution on an abortion table.4
Not that abortion was liberating; it was merely the necessary antidote when the new feminism failed—that is, when the quest for male sameness exacted its pregnancy paradox. As Mathewes-Green would famously write, women didn’t want abortion like they wanted a “Porsche or an ice cream cone.” No; they sought abortion as “an animal caught in a trap, trying to gnaw off its own leg[.]”5
Bolstered by the demand for sex with no strings, the abortion movement was born into advantageous circumstances. Post-Roe, all that was needed for a lucrative abortion empire was winning rhetoric. And creating the abortion marketing soundbites that reverberated through the generations of clinic clientele was almost too easy. Big Abortion fed on the attitude that children were a problem—a problem they could solve by evacuating inhabited wombs.
In her book, Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women’s Movement, former Cosmo writer Sue Ellen Browder explains that real propaganda—the kind employed by architects of the sexual revolution and abortion movement—is insidious. “As a form of withheld truth,” Browder explains, “propaganda can be 90 percent true. It’s the deceptive 10 percent that gets you.”6 In the case of the abortion movement, that 10 percent untruth is that only one life can remain intact at the end of an unplanned pregnancy. Whether that pregnancy ends on the abortion table or in the delivery room, a woman must choose between her life and her child’s.
Abortion businesses, like any profit-driven enterprise, were keen to market their product in a way that would yield the highest margins. Knowing abortions would plummet if their client base—women unwillingly pregnant—was confronted with the unborn victim’s humanity, they and their pro-abortion allies de-emphasized the preborn child and focused completely on the woman. Enter the bizarre replacement terms for “baby,” or even “fetus”: “the pregnancy,” “products of conception,” and “contents of the uterus.”
Early on, de-emphasizing the child was easy. Mainstream America did not yet associate children in utero with lifelike ultrasound photos, 3D printed models, and the awe-inspiring images of fetal surgeries that today abound. Thus, the pro-life movement’s early focus on the preborn child was necessary due to the genuine dearth of knowledge about his humanity.
Before those early ultrasounds, the layperson was susceptible to the rampant lie of the abortion industry that the unborn child was just a “clump of cells” or “blob of tissue.” After all, unless she had undergone the harrowing experience of a miscarriage or stillbirth, a woman might not possess the anecdotal and experiential evidence to refute this scientifically perverse rhetoric. Thus, many post-abortive women in the early decades of Roe lamented that they really did not know what they were told by abortionists about their unborn child’s humanity—or lack thereof—was untrue.7
Making matters worse, the all-male panel of Supreme Court Justices that released the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, in support of elective abortion on-demand, came to the deeply troubling and fallacious conclusion that the question of when life began was irrelevant to their decision. They wrote:
Texas urges that, apart from the Fourteenth Amendment, life begins at conception and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the State has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.8
And thus did the abortion community assume the reputation of being the side concerned with the woman’s rights, health, and prerogatives. The nascent pro-life movement was forced to expend many years presenting the evidence of embryological sciences, which taught that the preborn child was alive and decidedly human from the moment of fertilization. They had to combat the Court’s notion that some consensus of multiple disciplines, and not science alone, was necessary to prove that preborn children are as human and as alive as anyone else.
Trained as doctors, abortionists were never susceptible to the lies they told about the preborn child’s humanity. In fact, both their comprehensive scientific training and their interaction with the preborn child in his last moments of life during a surgical abortion renders abortionists more cognizant of the preborn’s humanity than perhaps anyone else on the planet. Although selling abortion requires abortionists to obscure the child’s humanity, some abortionists have publicly admitted that they know they are killing a human being when they commit an abortion.
In 2009, Texas abortionist Curtis Boyd candidly told a news crew, “Am I killing? Yes, I am. I know that.”9 Likewise, abortionist Neville Sender unapologetically admitted, “We know it’s killing, but the state permits killing under certain circumstances.”10 Former abortionist Joseph Randall, after abandoning his profession, recalled the power of ultrasound technology to shift sentiment. When the ultrasound was introduced at his clinic, Randall began to see high turnover at his clinic. His abortion workers now fully comprehended the vivacious child whose life they were ending in abortion. Randall also admitted that his practice betrayed women for the sake of profit, recalling that women were never permitted to look at their children on the screen during a pre-abortion ultrasound, “because we knew even if they heard the heart beat that many times they wouldn’t have the abortion, and you wouldn’t want that. No money in that.”11
The battle to educate the masses about the unborn child’s humanity and, by extension, the horror of abortion, was difficult. For years after Roe, the proof was tucked away in obscure medical textbooks. The technology that would open a window into the mysterious life in the womb would for some years not be generally available.
But science and technology did ultimately thwart the abortion industry’s best efforts to obscure the child’s humanity, and America now knows what—or rather, who—is at stake in an abortion choice. Ultrasound images are everywhere in our culture, plastering social media feeds and framed as cherished mementos. Even the grainy images produced by the earliest ultrasounds decades ago revealed a decidedly human form. So why does abortion persist?
Largely because, in the wake of the successful pro-life, pro-science campaign to shed light on the humanity of the unborn child, the abortion industry has reinforced its claim to sole rights to woman-focused rhetoric. Only now, they have to shout louder to drown out the claims of the unborn.
But the abortion industry’s coffers are plush with millions of marketing dollars to maintain the illusion that they hold a monopoly on defending women.12 The expansive maternal assistance network created by pro-lifers, living proof that we do not “only care about the baby,” remains stuck in PR obscurity. After four decades of grafting maternal support programs into the communities where they’re most needed, today, nonprofit women’s centers (and federally qualified health centers) wildly outnumber abortion facilities, providing women who are confronting unplanned pregnancies with medical care, financial assistance, education, and moral support.13 But Planned Parenthood pink still owns the mainstream media.
Indeed, the time for aligning our pro-life rhetoric with our pro-woman modus operandi—to put our mouth where their money is—is long overdue.
First, we must acknowledge that the pro-life movement has always stood for women—from the moment a woman finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, to the moment when she finds herself in need of post-abortion healing, pro-lifers offer an infrastructure of support. Maternal assistance facilities and programs empower women to reject abortion. And when the damage has already been done, the pro-life movement can connect women who have been betrayed by abortion with ministries that offer hope and healing. While the abortion industry empties women’s wallets and ravages their wombs in the name of choice, the pro-life movement stands ready to help her put her life back together in the wake of that destructive choice.
Countless women have testified to the exploitation they experienced inside America’s abortion industry. But we need to reach these women before Big Abortion does. And to that end, maternal assistance programs are not enough. We cannot wait until women are already exploring the options of life and death after an unplanned pregnancy has begun. We must adopt the comprehensive pro-woman rhetoric that places the pro-life movement on an even playing field with the abortion industry. And the abortion industry is currently reaching women much earlier than we are.
Planned Parenthood employs superb customer acquisition tactics, first entering girls’ lives during the formative school years by pushing licentious sex education propaganda into as many school health classes as possible. As girls grow older and look for contraceptives and STI testing, Planned Parenthood’s name has already been branded into their minds as a sexual health resource.14 When those contraceptives, in turn, fail (in fact, Planned Parenthood has been exposed for peddling some of the lowest-quality contraceptives on the market15), Planned Parenthood is the safety net to which their long-established customers will naturally return for abortion. Therefore, pro-lifers must preempt the pervasive influence of Big Abortion in women’s lives by reclaiming woman-focused messaging.
The abortion industry also recognizes that woman-focused messaging relies on pro-woman sentiment in society at large, and the pro-life movement must attend to this angle as well. For example, in order to shield liberal abortion laws from pro-life protections, abortion advocates often appeal to the emotions of the mushy middle with harrowing testimonials from women who chose abortion because they believed it to be the best choice in impossibly difficult circumstances. They disseminate stories of women who endured difficult prenatal diagnoses—anything from a cleft palate to an absence of vital organs—hailing the woman’s abortion choice as courageous and heartbreaking.
Departing from the standard rhetoric about a woman’s right to end an “unwanted pregnancy” (in which abortion appears to be a glorious exercise of self-determination), the abortion industry uses these rare scenarios to underscore how difficult a woman’s decision to abort was; these children were wanted. Always viewed through the lens of the mother’s feelings towards the child, these stories strike emotional chords in the reader. The message is that, because the mother wanted the child and did not set out to undergo an abortion, these abortions are tragedies.
In a 2015 Yahoo! Parenting story, for example, Sophie Horan, in her early 40s, describes her elation at learning that she was expecting after her extensive struggles to achieve pregnancy had failed.
Eight weeks on, we were still so blissfully happy that we hadn’t yet discussed having a CVS or amnio. We were too busy pouring over the four sonograms of our little baby. In just over two months, we’d watched him or her morph from a bean-shaped embryo into a little human being with a face and arms and legs—fingers and toes, too.16
Until she found out that the baby had Down syndrome, Sophie (a pseudonym) wanted her child. After recounting the baby’s in utero diagnosis, Sophie’s story becomes macabre. The what-ifs and worst-case scenarios dominate her thinking, and the reader is not told of anyone who attempted to assuage Sophie’s fears or point her toward the myriad resources available to help atypical children and their parents thrive.
The baby, Sophie reasoned, would be better off terminated than facing an uncertain future possibly accompanied by suffering for the child and for herself. “Only . . . after I’d gotten to know my baby as well as I possibly could,” she says, “did I feel I was ready to make the hardest decision of my life—terminate the pregnancy. And I would make it as a mother who wanted to do the best for her child.”
Sophie believed two lies spawned by abortion propagandists. First, that a child’s right to life is contingent on his mother’s choice, and not his own humanity17; second, that in certain circumstances—such as this late-term scenario when the child’s humanity is too self-evident to be denied—a child can somehow benefit from being killed. These lies have one thing in common: They speak to the mother’s emotions.
Stories like Sophie’s are peddled to bolster opposition to pro-life laws that protect the unborn and their mothers from the abortion industry. Their insidious thesis is that women are too fragile to face and overcome the obstacles associated with pregnancy. Exploiting late-term abortion stories is a cunning tactic; mushy-middle sympathizers can easily be moved by the situation of a woman who wanted her child but chose to “spare” him or her suffering or difficulty by terminating his or her life. But while the emphasis is craftily placed on these rare late-term cases, the flawed logic colors the public’s view of abortion all the way back to conception by instilling the notion that elective abortion on-demand is pro-woman.
To win the battle for women and life with our messaging, pro-lifers must harness the same kind of language, appealing to the mother’s compassion for her child and her innate strength as a woman, and accompanying her through challenging circumstances with life-affirming resources that acknowledge both her dignity and her child’s. Reducing women to helpless creatures in need of an abortionist savior, as the abortion industry does, is the height of misogyny.
Furthermore, the efficacy of appealing solely to the emotions to sway opinion on an issue has been established by other movements. Crusaders for same-sex marriage, for example, followed a carefully-crafted blueprint in their quest for social acceptance and legal acknowledgement. Engaging mass media to normalize the lifestyle was key. When same-sex couples enjoying an ostensibly normal family life with children became a hallmark of TV plotlines and media reports, dissenting voices favoring traditional marriage were quashed.18
The gay community found success in uniting with singular focus to normalize their lifestyle in the eyes of the public, and they harnessed the mass media to ensure that the public were watching. Following this blueprint yielded success in 2015 with the Supreme Court’s decision to create a right to gay marriage in response to Obergefell v. Hodges.19 For those lacking strong convictions about same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court decision proved a turning point, producing a tidal wave of solidarity and applause (26 million Americans, for example, used Facebook’s rainbow profile picture filter to show solidarity with the gay community in the wake of the SCOTUS decision).20
Similarly, the Civil Rights Movement received renewed impetus when Mamie Till—the mother of a black teen brutally murdered for purportedly flirting with a white woman—demanded an open-casket funeral so that the world could “see what they did to [her] baby.”21 Emmett Till’s mutilated face was viewed by thousands at his funeral, and countless more as photographs circulated around the country. The year was 1955.
Seeing the violence provoked by hatred and racism, America mourned with Mamie; she solidified dedication to the Civil Rights Movement through an emotional appeal. Emmett was not just the collateral damage of a broken racial system in America; he was someone’s beloved son, grandson, nephew, and cousin.
However, giving a human face to social justice issues was not enough to get these movements to the finish line. The winning strategists of successful movements also identify a villain—a force perceived to stand in the way of justice. For example, the same-sex marriage movement singled out the Catholic Church as their villain, as did the radical Women’s Lib movement. For the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., identified hatred as the antithesis of racial justice: “For I have seen too much hate,” he said, recounting the many instances where he had witnessed hatred fueling racism in the South. “And I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. I have decided to love.”22
For pro-lifers, the enemy is glaringly obvious. The abortion industry, which has lied to women and damaged their lives, is our mortal opponent. By underscoring the misogyny, sadism, and greed of the abortion industry, we shatter the lies that hold it together. There is a legion of evidence backing the claim that the abortion industry is anti-woman; we need only bring it to light.
In so doing, we channel the angst frequently exhibited by the mushy middle who want to avoid the abortion debate. “It’s too controversial,” say ambivalent parties, afraid to engage on abortion, “Abortion decisions are up to the woman.” Mushy-middle onlookers have been groomed by abortion culture to believe that they infringe on a woman’s autonomy if they identify as pro-life—even if, privately, that’s what they are. In clearly identifying the abortion industry—not women who undergo abortions—as the villain, the pro-life movement shifts the burden of contention and liberates ambivalent parties to stand in favor of life.
Pro-lifers must also blast the outdated stereotype that we are militant extremists. In urging the Civil Rights Movement to overcome hatred with love, Dr. King spoke to the timeless principle of compassion. His followers repudiated the hatred that fueled both White Supremacists and Black Panthers, instead taking the path of compassion for all. Only in loving the women vulnerable to and betrayed by abortion can we hope to achieve success from our woman-centric messaging. And we first extend compassion by exposing the misogyny that drives the abortion industry.
In 2014, a group of New Jersey newscasters were recorded as they viewed harrowing footage of abortion.23 The footage graphically depicted what abortion looks like and what it does to a human child. When asked what they thought about displaying the images in public, the crew was divided. Some believed that the footage was inappropriate for public audiences, and some were ambivalent or appeared shell-shocked by the images.
However, a female anchor said that she was in favor of showing the footage in public because she had friends who had undergone abortions only to learn afterward of the callous brutality of the abortion industry. These women regretted their abortion decisions; they simply had not comprehended the magnitude of the corruption into which they were entering when they walked through the abortion mill’s doors. They wished someone had told them sooner.
In line with that wish, pro-lifers have set out to show the nation how Planned Parenthood and its ilk betray women. And we are seeing quantifiable success in terms of a shift in public opinion.
The Center for Medical Progress’s (CMP) undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s illicit trafficking in baby body parts shattered media complicity with abortion propagandists and shook legislators and activists alike into action. The videos also impacted public opinion on Planned Parenthood by revealing just how far the abortion industry will go to exploit women and their bodies for money.24
The videos document the long-established network of fetal body parts trafficking from Planned Parenthood abortion mills across the country to bioresearch organizations. These companies manipulate loophole-ridden federal laws that ostensibly forbid the sale of aborted babies. They seduce greedy abortion businesses with lavish payouts for specific orders of body parts and “intact fetal cadavers.” Top officials and abortionists within Planned Parenthood are caught on-video admitting that they manipulate abortion procedures, prioritizing the procurement of body parts over the patient’s safety and wellbeing.
A whistle-blower appeared in the videos who worked for StemExpress, a bio-research company that paid Planned Parenthood handsomely for requested body parts. She recounted instances when her coworkers would take body parts from the aborted children of women who had not consented to “donating” (Planned Parenthood’s misleading language) their remains to research. The women, she said, would never know that their children’s remains had been exploited as saleable items. StemExpress is unlikely to ever acknowledge or apologize for this behavior.
The WomenBetrayed campaign of Students for Life of America followed on the heels of these first video releases by the Center for Medical Progress. Repelled by the profit-driven machinations of Planned Parenthood, thousands of Americans at more than 80 WomenBetrayed rallies across the nation25 sent a clear message to the media and their legislators: America has had enough of Planned Parenthood’s façade. Through WomenBetrayed, we saw that America, and the pro-life movement as a whole, were ripe to finally take on Planned Parenthood as a traitor to women and women’s rights. And the momentum has not died down.
Pro-lifers are not the only group dismayed by just how misogynistic the abortion industry has proven to be. In fact, according to focus groups and polls conducted during the height of the CMP video controversy, even Americans who identified as Planned Parenthood supporters and said they once defended the organization as a boon to women’s health have found themselves “betrayed and disgusted” by the CMP’s damning revelations.
Kellyanne Conway, President of the Polling Company, Inc./WomanTrend first conducted focus groups in Denver, Colorado.26 The groups gathered in September 2015, after only a handful of CMP videos had been released. Conway showed participants a short trailer aggregating key points from various videos, and an 11-minute clip of Planned Parenthood abortionist Savita Ginde discussing criteria for saleable baby body parts from the children she and her staff aborted.27
Conway’s focus groups comprised individuals who did not identify as strongly pro-life or pro-abortion—i.e., the “mushy middle.” She found that, across the board, participants were disgusted by Planned Parenthood after watching the videos; in fact, those who had identified at the outset as being favorable toward Planned Parenthood reported a sense of betrayal by the organization. Interestingly, Conway also found that the majority of those who identified as “moderately pro-life,” and “moderately pro-choice,” respectively, had nearly identical views: They opposed abortion in almost all cases (with exceptions being rape and incest, and life of the mother).
After viewing the videos, all participants in Conway’s focus groups stated that the Planned Parenthood employees caught on-camera should lose their jobs. Some were also skeptical that Planned Parenthood’s counseling of pregnant women could be “unbiased” when the organization was poised to profit if women agreed to “donate” their children’s bodies to research. Others suspected that this profiteering motivated the abortion company to pressure ambivalent women to abort. Conway told the Washington Times that the videos were “like a magical elixir that shifts the burden of proof onto Planned Parenthood,” saying that the shift depended on more Americans viewing the videos.28
The reasons why mushy-middle Americans take issue with Planned Parenthood after seeing the CMP videos cannot be overstated. Note that Conway’s focus group participants did not cite brutality towards the unborn—a primary motivator for Americans who already identified as strongly pro-life—as the factor behind their shift in opinion. Rather, Planned Parenthood’s betrayal of women is what agitates apathetic Americans into a more distinctly pro-life stance. Going forward, pro-life activists should bear in mind that the pro-life movement is responsible not only for protecting preborn children from violent death, but also for protecting American women from being targeted by the abortion industry and callously used to generate profit.
Three months after the Denver focus groups, Conway’s company conducted a nationwide survey of more than one thousand American adults.29 Of those, 28 percent had seen some of the videos, and 20 percent of those who had not seen the videos said they were curious and wanted to view them. The survey informed participants that Planned Parenthood is “the nation’s largest abortion provider, receives a half billion dollars from the government each year, spends millions of dollars in partisan political activities and was recently exposed on video as bartering the cost of baby body parts and fetal tissue.” After hearing these points, 54 percent of participants reported being “strongly negative” toward Planned Parenthood.
The survey also found strong tri-partisan agreement among self-identified Republicans, Democrats, and Independents that investigations into Planned Parenthood should be continued, and that the group’s lavish tax funding should be adjusted (i.e., reduced, frozen, or eliminated completely). Before the release of the CMP videos, national sentiment towards Planned Parenthood was colored by ignorance. However, exposing Planned Parenthood’s internal modus operandi to public scrutiny had an immediate and negative effect on the abortion behemoth’s public image.
Again, Conway’s research underscored the fact that Planned Parenthood’s abuse of taxpayer funding and uncontrolled pursuit of profits, even at the risk of possible harm to their clients, aroused negative sentiment among mainstream Americans. Thus, the campaign to expose Planned Parenthood’s betrayal of women has proven to be successful in shifting America’s mushy middle toward a pro-life view. We need only forge ahead.
The pro-life movement has long been a voice of empowerment for women. Women who come into contact with pro-life organizations, maternal assistance programs, and pregnancy resource centers are emboldened and encouraged by the message of hope they offer. WomenBetrayed relies not only on amplifying this message of empowerment, but on casting the abortion industry as the anti-woman entity that it is. In revealing the rampant profit motives, disingenuous marketing tactics, medical incompetence, and outright misogyny of America’s abortion cartel, we galvanize Americans to reject the industry for the sake of women.
In adopting stronger pro-woman messaging, the abortion movement does not abandon the preborn victims of abortion. Woman-focused rhetoric has the potential to prevent more abortions than baby-focused messaging can, because babies will not be aborted if their mothers and society at large know that the abortion industry betrays women.
Woman-focused messaging, in fact, incorporates the preborn child into the woman’s thinking about abortion. When women understand that the abortion industry has betrayed their best interests in search of “profit, no matter what,” they also understand that the preborn child is not the enemy; the abortion industry is.
This brand of messaging abandons the “baby vs. mother” thought process that underpins old arguments for and against abortion. Frederica Mathewes-Green recounts meeting a post-abortive woman who was abandoned by the proponents of so-called choice: “Everyone around me was saying they would ‘be there for me’ if I had the abortion,” the woman recalled, “but no one said they’d ‘be there for me’ if I had the baby.”30 This woman’s experience is paradigmatic of the dilemma facing American women experiencing unintended pregnancy: Too often, abortion is presented as the only viablecoparenting or adoption.
Often, a pro-life voice is the only voice in a pregnant woman’s life drawing the baby into her realm of thinking and offering the support she needs to make the choice that affirms her own dignity and her child’s. In 2013, a young mom named Jessica shared with Students for Life of America how crucial this bond with a pro-life advocate can be during an unplanned pregnancy.31 A senior in college, Jessica had recently undergone an abortion when she unexpectedly became pregnant again. She regretted her prior abortion, but felt underprepared to choose life.
Jessica had become involved with the Students for Life group on her college campus after her abortion because she wanted to help other women avoid this heartbreaking experience; yet, the pressure to undergo a second abortion overwhelmed her. Enter fellow Students for Life member Meghan, who was determined to stand by Jessica throughout the ordeal. “The most important thing to do and be for that person,” Meghan said, “is a friend.” Meghan knew that no one else in Jessica’s life was empowering her to choose life. “I felt like I needed to be so close to her because there’s so many voices that were telling her otherwise.”
Jessica shared that, without Meghan’s support, she would have chosen abortion. But the pair weathered the difficulties of unplanned pregnancy together, and the reality of what they had fought for emerged in the delivery room when Stefan was born. Meghan recalls being overwhelmed by finally meeting Jessica’s baby face-to-face at his birth. “She was his voice,” said Jessica. “She fought for his life.”
Pro-woman messaging is the future of the pro-life movement and the rhetoric of the new pro-life generation. Pro-life Americans are burning with zeal to abolish abortion. The time has come to redirect our attention, since woman-focused, pro-life rhetoric can reach further into hearts and minds than the older rhetoric of the pro-life movement. With mounting evidence of the many ways that abortion betrays women; scientific and technological advancements testifying to the humanity of the preborn child; and young people more pro-life than any generation since Roe, we have the wind in our sails. The challenge before us is to embrace the winning strategy of pro-woman rhetoric, and use it to shatter the monopoly that the abortion industry has maintained on the media and American women for the last five decades.
1. Marist. “Abortion in America,” 2015. Retrieved from www.kofc.org/un/en/resources/communications/Abortion_in_America_January2015_For_Release_150121.pdf
2. Feminists for Life. The American Feminist, Volume 8, Number 2, 2001.
3. Sue Ellen Browder. Subverted: How I Helped the Sexual Revolution Hijack the Women‘s Movement (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 2015).
4. Frederica Mathewes-Green. Abortion: Womens Rights and Wrongs (1992) The Evangelical Catholic. Retrieved from: www.ewtn.com/library/PROLIFE/RTWRG.TXT
6. Browder, page 14.
7. See thousands of women’s testimonies: www.silentnomoreawareness.org/testimonies/
8. Retrieved from: www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/410/113
10. John Powell, S.J. Abortion: The Silent Holocaust (Allen, TX: Argus Communications, 1981), p.66.
11. Joseph Randall. Retrieved from: clinicquotes.com/former-abortionist-joseph-randallwhat-happened-then-was-a-christian-girl-came-into-my-life-and-influenced-me-basically-the-reason-she-came-into-my-life-to-start-with-is-because-the-only-prerequisite/
12. Planned Parenthood Annual Report, 2014-2015. Retrieved from: issuu.com/actionfund/docs/2014-2015_annual_report_final_20mb/1
13. Find comprehensive list at getyourcare.org
14. Kristan Hawkins. Planned Parenthood, Oregon Help Host ‘Adolescent Sexuality Conference,’ CNS News, 2014. Retrieved from cnsnews.com/commentary/kristan-hawkins/planned-parenthood-oregon-help-host-adolescent-sexuality-conference
15. Maria Gallagher. Planned Parenthood Condoms Ranked Worse, Could Encourage Abortions, LifeNews, 2005. Retrieved from: www.lifenews.com/2005/01/05/nat-1085/
16. Sophie Horan. I Terminated My Baby With Down Syndrome. Yahoo! Parenting, 2015. Retrieved from: www.yahoo.com/parenting/i-terminated-my-baby-with-down-syndrome-111407679952.html
17. See, for example, abortionist James McMahon: “If I see a case . . . after twenty weeks, where it frankly is a child to me, I really agonize over it because the potential is so imminently there . . . On the other hand, I have another position, which I think is superior in the hierarchy of questions, and that is ‘who owns this child?’ It’s got to be the mother.”(American Medical News, July 5, 1993) Retrieved from: liveactionnews.org/10-surprising-quotes-from-abortionists/
18. Robert R. Reilly. Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2014).
19. See www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf
20. See www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2015/06 29/more-than-26-million-people-have-changed-their-facebook-picture-to-a rainbow-flag-heres-why-that-matters/
21. Retrieved from: www.lifesitenews.com/news/mamie-till-refusing-the-coverup
22. Retrieved from: kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentsentrywhere_do_we_go_from_here_delivered_at_the_11th_annual_sclc_convention.1.html
23. See liveactionnews.org/new-jersey-news-cast-reacts-to-graphic-abortion-images/
24. See www.youtube.com/user/centerformedprogress
25. See www.ncregister.com/daily-news/women-betrayed-a-new-generation-rallies-nationwide-to-protest-planned-paren
26. See pollingcompany.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/CMP-Nationwide-Survey-Polling-Memo-to-Leaders-fr-Kellyanne-Dec-2015.pdf
27. See www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/12/planned-parenthood-videos-leave-supporters-custome/?page=all
29. See note 26.
30. Frederica Mathewes-Green. When Abortion Stopped Making Sense, National Review Online, 2016. Retrieved from: http: www.nationalreview.com/article/430152/abortion-roe-v-wade-unborn-children-women-feminism-march-life
31. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkrB7cNCu94