Pro-life advocates are galvanized after New York legalized abortion through the day of birth and a similar bill nearly became law in Virginia. Vice President Mike Pence published an op-ed against infanticide; President Donald Trump criticized Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s apparent support for letting a baby who survived an abortion perish, and addressed that controversy in his State of the Union address.
The reactions appear to be having some impact. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam may resign after his racist yearbook was exposed, allegedly by a former medical school colleague who heard the governor’s defense of infanticide. Trump and Senate Republicans are also pushing a bill to require abortionists to care for babies who survive abortions, though that bill will never pass the Democratic-controlled House (and was blocked by Democrats in the Senate).
But while cries of “infanticide” are attention-grabbing, the pro-life movement needs to do more to change hearts and minds. The education necessary to convince the public of the truth of abortion is enormous. Touting a bill to save children who survive abortions is important, but it’s a Band-Aid on an issue that requires a tourniquet.
The education must be multi-tiered to account for our diverse society. For many, science is key to proving the value of unborn life. Our humanity at the point of fertilization is clear. Each person’s unique DNA is present even before our mothers know they are pregnant, and it is no less defined than that of a fully-developed fetus, a born child, or an elderly person. Each of us was once that new zygote, and our heartbeats began at six weeks’ gestation. Medical research indicates that unborn babies feel pain at or before 20 weeks’ gestation. Viability after birth is likely as early as 22 or 23 week’s gestation and babies have survived outside the womb even earlier.
Sociological arguments are also critical. Abortion creates uncertainty about the inherent value of human life. Abortions for the sake of disability denies the world those like motivational speaker Nick Vujicic, who has no arms or legs. Abortions for financial reasons open the door to killing elderly parents who are financially burdensome, or who may have wealth in their wills.
Religion is also powerful. Most Americans identify as Christian – and the Bible clearly condemns killing innocent humans, including the unborn.
But most Americans reject these biological, theological, and sociological realities until late in pregnancy. Late-term abortions are opposed by 75 percent of Americans, but they account for fewer than two percent of all abortions. Other popular restrictions are likewise limited in impact.
The result of Americans’ support for abortion is that many pregnant mothers don’t see the humanity of their unborn child. Ultrasounds solve some of this challenge. As Heartbeat International Director of Communications Andrea Trudden told me in an e-mail, ultrasounds provide a “window in the womb.” At Heartbeat’s 1,900 member pro-life pregnancy resource centers, which provide ultrasounds, this window “gives women (and men) a chance to make a fully informed choice about their pregnancy, after which about 80 percent make a choice for life,” Trudden said.
The fact is that without the underlying truth about every unborn child’s humanity, public opinion isn’t going to shift much on abortion. Without such a shift, Planned Parenthood – which performs one-third of America’s abortions – will likely still receive half-a-billion dollars in public funding for abortion and other services; the Democratic Party will likely still support taxpayer-funded abortions from fertilization to birth.
Worst of all, more than 800,000 abortions each year will be backed by the American people, even though all abortions deny a pre-born child the same right to life that you and I possess.
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