Pro-Life Hopes for 2023: Creative Programs to Help Mothers, Babies and Families Are Key
COMMENTARY: We in the pro-life movement have the momentum and great reason for hope this year.
We know overturning Roe was a critical step in what’s still a long journey to build a culture of life. While media commentators will be quick to point to Election Day and the passage of state abortion propositions, I maintain that we in the pro-life movement have the momentum and great reason for hope in 2023.
More Unborn Lives Saved
We have already seen thousands of unborn lives saved since the Dobbs decision, and that number will only increase. The New York Times reported that abortions fell by more than 10,000 in the first two months alone following the Supreme Court decision; that’s about a 6% drop in abortions. Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America anticipates that pro-life state laws in effect — or soon to be in effect — will protect as many as 200,000 unborn children annually.
New life is new hope. My prayer is that our culture will come to see how these new lives, these babies in our arms, lead to more flourishing families — not the apocalyptic disaster the abortion lobby painted this past year. We are the body of Christ, each one interwoven and interconnected in a way that’s beyond comprehension. We are better with each other; we are better with each additional life.
Increased Awareness About Abortion-Pill Dangers
The new frontier in the pro-life battle centers on abortion pills. They account for more than half of abortions in the United States, and that figure is likely to only expand, as the Biden administration’s FDA is now permanently allowing abortion pills through the mail (as well as at pharmacies). We’ve seen the abortion lobby execute desperate ploys, such as activists swallowing abortion pills on the steps of the Supreme Court or during a live TV interview. It’s all an attempt to normalize the two-pill protocol that starves and kills the youngest life. Activists try to depict abortion pills as a seamless way to get an abortion without the hassle of surgical tools. It is devastating and dangerous, and yet there are still solid avenues of hope in this very struggle.
In November, pro-life groups, including the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, filed a lawsuit asking the court to overturn U.S. regulators’ approval of the drug mifepristone for abortion pills. Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal firm that filed the suit, claims: “The FDA never studied the safety of the drugs under the labeled conditions of use, ignored the potential impacts of the hormone-blocking regimen on the developing bodies of adolescent girls, disregarded the substantial evidence that chemical abortion drugs cause more complications than surgical abortions, and eliminated necessary safeguards for pregnant girls and women who undergo this dangerous drug regimen.”
This is a significant legal step that will draw more attention to the harm of abortion pills. How is our culture so casual about allowing girls to take powerful pills alone at home, outside the supervision of medical doctors? When we highlight this reality, it becomes increasingly obvious that abortion does not advance women’s health care, it contradicts it. Perhaps, in 2023, more eyes will be open to this and people will take pause at supporting abortion pills, also commonly referred to as medication abortions.
The Undeniable Success of Abortion-Pill Reversal
There’s another aspect to the abortion-pill battle that should give us hope. While medication abortion is the type of abortion that’s on the rise, it’s also the only abortion procedure that can be reversed. Abortion-pill reversal protocol is when a woman who has taken mifepristone, the first of the two abortion pills, receives a large dose of progesterone over the course of a few days to potentially save the life of her child. According to the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, initial studies reveal the protocol has a 64%-68% success rate.
I interviewed the Catholic medical doctor who pioneered the abortion-pill reversal protocol for EWTN News In Depth, Dr. George Delgado. He told me, “The Holy Spirit put two and two together for me: my knowledge of mifepristone on one hand; my knowledge of progesterone on the other hand.”
The Holy Spirit’s role here is obvious. Praise God, there is a way to possibly reverse course with an abortion if a woman immediately regrets her decision! It’s up to us to raise awareness.
Creative Pro-Life Legislation and Programs
The new era of the pro-life movement should incentivize lawmakers to create innovative lifesaving legislation. In states where abortion is illegal or largely banned, lawmakers will need to draft laws that provide more resources for families with unplanned pregnancies. And in states where abortion remains rampant, pro-life lawmakers will need to be creative in how they can save as many lives as possible in a bipartisan way.
One example of innovation that comes to mind is the recent $100-million Alternatives to Abortion program in Texas. It supports services for pregnant women, their families and adoptive parents. It works with more than 300 pregnancy centers in Texas, social-service providers, adoption agencies, and maternity homes to help women and families in need. Hopefully, this program is an indication of more programs to come in the United States, programs that recognize it takes a village to raise a child, especially when a family is unprepared and under-resourced.
There is profound division in this nation, but by pushing the abortion debate to the state level, hopefully our local lawmakers will be forced to find unlikely allies and contend with the underlying issues that lead to abortion in the first place. In states where pro-lifers are in the minority, I have hope we can find bipartisan means to curb high maternal mortality rates and strengthen the social safety net for families.