Rob Schwarzwalder is Senior Vice President at Family Research Council. This article appeared on ChristianHeadlines.com, April 25, 2014.
The battle to defend unborn babies from abortion and their mothers from the predatory and deceptive abortion industry is long and tedious. Rather than one sweeping victory, the pro-life movement has experienced many small and partial victories in the 41 years since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.
The good news is that they are adding up: In 2011-2012, more than 130 measures defending the lives of unborn children and the women carrying them were enacted at the state level. And public judgment on abortion is shifting: A growing number of Americans, confronted by clear, distinct ultrasound images, acknowledge that the unborn baby is a person with value independent of his or her mother.
In recent weeks, a number of key pro-life victories have been realized in states as far apart as Alaska and Oklahoma. Here's just a couple:
Alaska Governor "Signs Law Defining 'Medically Necessary' Abortions:"
"Under the new law, Medicaid payments can only be used for abortions if: the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape; to avoid a threat of serious risk to the life or physical health of a woman; or to prevent death or impairment to a major bodily function'. As Jim Minnery of Alaska Family Action notes, "National studies show that less than 5% of all abortions are typically related to the health of the mother and yet nearly 40% of abortions in Alaska are being classified as 'medically necessary.' This bill tightens the screws on abortionists who are now claiming that an abortion is 'medically necessary' simply because the patient is going through Medicaid to get it paid for."
Oklahoma Governor Helps Make Sooner State One of the Friendliest to the Unborn
As reported in Life News, "Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin has signed another pro-life bill into law - this time to limit the usage of the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, also known as mifepristone. Fallin signed into law a bill the legislature passed designed to protect women from the dangerous abortion drug RU 486 and abortion centers that fail to follow FDA guidelines when giving the abortion drug to women." Fallin also signed another measure that prevents "abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy" except for "serious health issues," a four-week reduction from the previous law.
In Tennessee, Arizona, and Alabama, pro-life victories either have been won or on the verge of success. Some sneer that these are "Red State" victories and don't reflect larger national trends. Yet however these efforts are diminished in the secular press, they have pronounced national implications. And the wins aren't limited to traditionally conservative states: It is hard to call Rhode Island, Ohio, and Wisconsin predictably conservative, yet the cause of life is moving forward in these and other states, as well.
This is not to say that victory in the battle for life is inevitable; a spirit of triumphalism can preclude the very success it anticipates, because it can create an undue sense of complacency.
Rather, public judgment must continue to be molded by those of us who cherish life within the womb as a gift of our Creator. That molding occurs through personal relationship, the media, our churches, education, and all the other ethical and practical means available to us. Medical science, reason, and Scripture join together in celebrating the truth that from the moment of conception, the unborn child is a person before God. We can never stop heralding this good news.
Let's keep working until the day when every baby is protected by law both within and without the womb, and their mothers protected from those who present elective abortion to them as a safe and easy way out of difficult situations. Working - and praying.