Editor's note: This column was co-authored by Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
Over the last few decades, advances in science and medical technology have given us a window into the womb. Through ultrasounds, doctors monitor the movements and heartbeats of babies at their earliest stages, and parents can see their child breathing, kicking, wiggling their toes, and stretching their arms.
A growing body of medical studies tells us that at least by 20 weeks – or 140 days – of gestation, a baby responds to stimulation because the brain can receive pain signals. Long before that 20-week mark, a baby has a beating heart and their eyes, ears, and nose have begun to take shape. At 17 weeks, joints and bones are starting to harden and the skeleton is forming. At just 10 weeks, a baby’s tiny limbs can bend and move with nails beginning to grow.
Abortion brutally destroys a developing child – each one unique and special from the moment of conception. This is simply a scientific reality that compels us to fight for the protection of every unborn life, to ensure each child is welcomed and protected under the law.
We’ve made strides lately on Capitol Hill as the House of Representatives voted to end late-term abortions by passing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and mandated that doctors give the same care to a child who survives an abortion as they would for a child born any other way by passing the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act – but we still have a long way to go. The radical status quo in the United States is still legal abortion on demand through birth, and taxpayers are forced to prop up the abortion industry.
The new pro-abortion House majority, led by Nancy Pelosi, threatens to stymie and even undo the progress we’ve made. We must fight to overcome this setback – not getting discouraged, continuing to expose the cruelty of abortion and show the way of true compassion. The good news is that when the American people are educated about the extreme agenda of the abortion lobby, they overwhelmingly reject it.
Recently, an ad supporting Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion business, has surfaced depicting a smiling, giggling baby girl who, the script says, deserves “to be loved” – and then she’s labeled “a choice,” an expendable life. This blatant disregard for humanity is despicable, and yet, Planned Parenthood continues to receive billions of taxpayer dollars in the name of “health care.” Earlier this year, a report released by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that more than $1.5 billion in tax dollars went to abortion businesses over a three-year period between 2013-2015. We need legislators and grassroots activists working together to end this abuse of taxpayer funding.
You’ll hear Planned Parenthood also frequently argue that their battle is about restoring a woman’s right to their bodies and their health, as though anyone who believes that unborn children should not be killed hates women and wants to inflict suffering. As women, we know that could not be further from the truth.
Let’s be clear: abortion is not family planning, it’s family destruction, and the lies coming from the big abortion industry are devastating.
Our hearts break for the millions of lives cut short in the name of “empowerment” and they also break for women facing unimaginable circumstances with very few resources. Empowering women does not mean giving them one option and sending them out the door when they feel hopeless. Empowering women means loving them through every stage of life and supporting them so they know they are not alone. There are more than 2,750 life-affirming pregnancy centers and thousands of community health care providers across our nation that offer women and families the assistance they need to give life rather than take it away.
We are seeing the next generation of men and women rise up to fight for dignity, restoration, and truth unlike ever before; because of this, we believe that we are on the verge of returning our society to a culture of life. This past election cycle, Susan B. Anthony List had more than 1,100 canvassers – many of them students and young adults – on the ground in nine states, talking to their neighbors, educating them about the importance of voting to protect the most vulnerable.
To these young people, we say keep fighting for truth. Let’s work together to ensure that every child has the right to live as we compassionately come to the table with science and truth on our side to change hearts and minds.
Though we face challenges over the next few years in Washington, D.C., the next generation of leaders is eagerly taking up the fight for life all over the country. And for that, we are grateful.