It’s been 40+ years since the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated all 50 state abortion laws in Roe v. Wade. The pro-life movement has made tremendous strides to educate the American people on the gift of life. Although there is much more to do, there are many reasons that pro-lifers must have hope!
40 bright spots in the pro-life effort
Polling & Data on Abortion
1) According to polls, “pro-life” has been the “new normal” for Americans since 2009. In 2012, 50% of Americans identified as pro-life, while those identifying as “pro-choice” hit a record low of 41%.
2) Young people are increasingly pro-life, which is evident as thousands of youth travel to the March for Life each year. Trends show that support of unlimited access to abortion by young people has dropped 12 percent points since 1990. According to Gallup “support for making abortion broadly illegal [is] growing fastest among young adults.”
3) Admitting that the pro-abortion movement is losing support among young people, pro-abortion NARAL President Nancy Keenan recently submitted her resignation to allow a younger president to conduct youth outreach. Commenting on the March for Life she lamented, “There are so many of them, and they are so young.”
4) According to a NARAL study, 51% of pro-life voters under 30 consider a candidate’s stance on abortion very important, yet only 26% of pro-abortion voters of the same group consider a candidate’s stance on abortion to be very important.
5) Most Americans do not agree with United States abortion laws. Abortion is legal through all nine months of pregnancy, but most believe that abortion should be highly restricted: 79% believe it should be illegal after the first trimester; 87% of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal after 6 months of pregnancy, while only 16% believe it should be legal through all 9 months of pregnancy.
6) The number of abortions in the United States has steadily declined since 1990. Abortion rates dropped 5% in 2009, the last year for which statistics are available.
Pregnancy Resource Centers
7) Throughout the United States, there are more than 2,000 Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRC) that offer help to mothers experiencing unplanned pregnancies. There are 1,793 abortion providers through the country.
8) PRCs report that up to 90% of women contemplating abortion who see the ultrasound, and hear their baby’s heart beat, choose to carry their baby to term.
9) Many PRCs offer ultrasounds free of charge to mothers.
10) There is a movement of mobile PRCs bringing ultrasounds to women. By parking in locations where there may be high numbers of women with unexpected pregnancies, such as malls, college campuses, and abortion clinics, these mobile units reach women who would not have otherwise walked into a PRC.
11) PRCs run largely on the generosity of donors, and volunteers. In 2010, approximately 71,000 volunteers performed an estimated 5,705,000 hours of work.
12) Free services offered by PRCs in 2010 were worth well over an estimated $100 million.
13) As PRCs advance in medical sophistication, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), has trained many in sonography, helping make ultrasounds more widely available to expectant mothers.
Conversions and Outreach Ministries
14) Dr. Bernard Nathanson, former abortionist and co-founder of NARAL, had a change of heart in 1980, and became a pro-life advocate until his death in 2011.
15) Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in Roe v. Wade is now a pro-life advocate.
16) Sandra Cano, the plaintiff of Doe v. Bolton is pro-life, and a popular speaker on pro-life issues.
17) Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood clinic director, left the abortion industry after seeing an abortion on ultrasound. She is pro-life speaker and advocate.
18) Abby Johnson began the ministry “And Then There Were None” to reach out to abortion clinic workers who want to leave the abortion industry. Since the organization’s founding in June 2012, nearly 40 workers have left their places of employment, and through the help of “And Then There Were None” were able to find new jobs.
19) 40 Days for Life is a peaceful prayer campaign where groups dedicate 40 days of prayer and fasting for the protection of life, often in front of abortion clinics. Since beginning in 2007 at least 6,749 lives have been saved, 75 abortion clinic workers have left their jobs.
20) Abortion clinics close at a steady pace; 40 Days for Life reports the closing of at least 25 abortion clinics, including the oldest abortion clinic in New York City.
21) Pro-life campus outreach is flourishing. Students for Life of America reports that in 2011, they had 678 active groups, chapters in 49 states, and 42 trainings on college campuses throughout the year.
22) There are numerous organizations such as Isaiah’s Promise and Be Not Afraid that support expectant parents who receive a poor prenatal diagnosis. These ministries help parents respect the dignity of their babies by carrying them to term regardless of their prognosis.
23) Organizations such as Project Rachel, Lumina, and Silent No More bring post-abortion hope and healing to women and men who have chosen abortion.
Laws – Federal and State
24) In 2003, Congress passed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 5, 2003. The ban outlawed use of the procedure that became known as partial birth abortion, and brought the violent and intensive procedure of abortion into the light for the public to see. It is likely that because of this law, public opinion has moved in the pro-life direction.
25) Congress has enacted the Hyde-Weldon, Church and Coats-Snowe Amendments, which all protect conscience rights.
26) Since 1976, the Hyde Amendment has restricted federal funds for abortion.
27) Between 2010 and 2012 there have been tremendous pro-life advances on the state level. In 2011, a record breaking 92 pro-life laws, and in 2012, 43 state laws were enacted.
28) In 2011 nine states voted to withhold funding from Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.
29) Thirty-four states require women receive counseling before an abortion, and twenty-six states have a required waiting period between counseling and abortion.
30) Thirty-eight states have parental involvement laws for minors seeking abortion. Studies show that parental involvement decreases the abortion rate significantly.
31) Twelve states have passed ultrasound legislation, giving women the opportunity to view an ultrasound prior to their abortion.
32) At least five states have pro-life laws on fetal pain.
33) Twenty-seven states now offer specialty “Choose Life” license plates. Proceeds from the license plates benefit PRCs or other organizations that provide alternatives to abortion.
34) Twelve states now provide direct funding to PRCs.
35) The “Too Many Aborted” public ad campaign caused national uproar as it called attention to the fact that over 40% of African American babies conceived are aborted.
36) There have been increasingly more movies that highlight the gift of life including Bella, Juno and October Baby.
37) Adoptions have consistently increased since 1995.
38) Advances in technology show that the developing baby is undeniably a human being and many credit this for influencing public opinion in favor of the pro-life position.
39) Advances in prenatal technology offer lifesaving treatment to the baby in utero, captured in images such as the “Hand of Hope” picture of Samuel Armas.
40) The March for Life has grown from its humble beginnings in 1974 to be the largest pro-life event in the world!