As we recently celebrated Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we reconize that many challenges continue in the battle against abortion continue, such as what we saw in New York’s shocking new law that allows late-term abortions.
Yet we have much for which we can be grateful. The latest CDC and Guttmacher Institute surveys show a significant drop in the number of abortions performed in the United States.
As of 2014, which is the latest year that statistics have been reported, the number of abortions nationwide was at 926,000. That is the lowest national rate since abortion was legalized in 1973 by the infamous Roe v. Wade decision. Still, the numbers are striking as they represent approximately 14.6 abortions for every 1,000 women aged 15-44.
We cannot lose sight, though, of the victories that have been won since those numbers were highest in 1990 with 1.6 million abortions nationally representing 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women. Even considering that these numbers tend to be skewed to the low side because there is no mandatory reporting requirement in the U.S., the drop in the rate as reported is real.
Much of the success for the pro-life movement can be attributed to the number of state regulations which have been enacted in recent years. As of 2015, Guttmacher reported that states had approved 231 abortion regulations over the period from 2011-2014.
Much of this legislation dealt with late-term abortion bans, informed consent laws and safety regulations for clinics. Oklahoma has passed some of the most pro-life legislation in the country including a 72-hour waiting period with specific requirements regarding what information the attending physician must make available to women seeking an abortion.
So, to what may we attribute these gradual successes? Underneath the statistics lie subtle changes occurring in the hearts and minds of those who elect people to office. Technology has certainly played a part due to the ready access to information and even opinions expressed through social media.
Pro-life activists are no longer considered fringe elements of society but are given a greater platform to express and defend their positions via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Even with the liberal bias these social media platforms exhibit, the pro-life message is getting out more today than any other time in history.
People are being encouraged to choose life as directed in Deut. 30:19, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, love the LORD your God, obey Him, and remain faithful to Him.”
In addition to social media, one of the greatest uses of technology has been the introduction of the ultrasound prominently used by physicians and made available through pregnancy centers across the country. First-time mothers who see the image of a living baby moving and even doing such ordinary things as sucking their thumbs or blinking their eyes has a profound effect upon their decision to end that child’s life. It is no longer a valid argument that a fetus is just a “blob of tissue.”
No, a fetus is a human being made in the very image of God as described in Gen. 1:27, “So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.”
Another change has occurred in the competition Planned Parenthood now faces from pro-life crisis pregnancy centers such as Hope Pregnancy Centers in Oklahoma. Even though the number of abortion clinics has increased in Oklahoma, Planned Parenthood no longer has a monopoly on the information provided to women experiencing a crisis pregnancy.
Thanks to creative marketing through the website thinkimpregnant.org, many women are encouraged that there are resources available for them and opt to deliver their babies and either keep them or place them for adoption.
Yes, we have much to celebrate, but the battle is not won. As we face the year ahead, let us consider what our part might be in this fight. Each of us can become informed regarding legislation surrounding this issue and vote our consciences.
We can proudly profess our pro-life beliefs to our family and friends and not shrink away from the truths of scripture. We can denounce the efforts by Planned Parenthood to deceive through their ad campaigns designed to soothe young women into believing that it’s all about their “right to choose.”
And, until this battle is won, we can attend pro-life events like Rose Day which is held at the Oklahoma State Capital each year on the first Wednesday in February. These efforts truly do make a difference and bring glory to Christ as we celebrate life by standing for the most defenseless among us… the unborn.