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OPINION

Room at the Inn

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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PIER PAOLO CITO

Editor's note: This piece was co-authored by Chuck Donovan.

This first Christmas after the Dobbs victory brings tidings of great joy to a nation riven by conflict and weary of violence.  At least 10,000 lives were saved from abortion in just the first two months after the Supreme Court decision. Potentially as many as 200,000 lives could be saved in two dozen states in the first year after this decision. Each little girl or boy has a unique purpose in this world that only he or she can fulfill. What better Christmas gift could America receive.

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Of course, that means thousands more children, mothers and families need our care and concern as they courageously choose life in a brand new era. For decades the pro-life movement has led the way in providing authentic help and life-affirming options. While we celebrate the legal victories, the rolling-up of sleeves has only just begun. This year more than ever, as our neighbors in need knock at our door, the resounding response of the pro-life movement must be – and is – yes, there is room at the inn.

With nearly 3,000 community-based pregnancy centers and maternity homes across America, the pro-life movement offers unsurpassed love and support. The latest data shows that more than 54,000 volunteers, including 10,200 licensed medical professionals, provide medical care, education, and material support for millions of women and families each year. Occasionally, even a Planned Parenthood employee will make a referral for care the abortion giant doesn’t provide.

In North Carolina (Marjorie’s home state), in fact, a home for pregnant moms on the campus of Belmont Abbey College – the vision of deeply committed women and men who’ve devoted their lives in service – is literally called Room at the Inn. Over the years hundreds of women have found shelter, mentorship and hope in a beautiful place they can truly call home. Not only are they cared for during their pregnancy, they and their children can continue to stay at “Amy’s House” while pursuing their education. So successful have they been that one of their clients even returned to work for them full-time.

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One of the reasons promoted for choosing abortion, after all, is the desire to immediately make a problem “go away.” Those who promote abortion as the quick, cheap, convenient option don’t view women as strong enough to succeed, and they can't conceive of the need to expand the Inn or understand the sustained engagement with a brave young woman and her husband making their way through life and finding they have nowhere to abide. In the similar story of the Good Samaritan in Scripture, the hero is the stranger who was not deterred by the fact that aiding the man fallen among thieves necessitated a continuing engagement beyond emergency assistance. Pregnancy help centers are likewise in it for the long haul, not the abrupt “solution” to a much deeper problem.  

Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus were sojourners under the edict of the Roman Empire.  They were the furthest thing from celebrities. An unmarried couple with an unexplained pregnancy.  Had there been a People magazine or style section in Bethlehem they would never have appeared in them. Statisticians and sociologists of the day, if they existed, might have ruminated about their diminished prospects, lack of resources and planning skills, neglect of making reservations on the verge of childbirth, and last stop at a battered hovel home to animals, dirt, and straw. By all the world’s measures, this was no couple, no newborn, no scene where cameras would film or kings come to kneel. No shepherds would tend watch, or angels sing in heavenly chorus.  No one would call it healthcare – no, it was merely the Light of the World coming to save all who would hear His cry.

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We in the pro-life movement must follow in the path of those who saw the true value of the couple who had no Room at the Inn.  We have tremendous responsibility to show a better way, especially in this first year after Dobbs, which will set the tone for how our nation responds to the needs of women and children. It will take all of us, including both private and public sector efforts. 

For example, the Ohio Legislature just passed a bill that provides $3 million in new support for pregnancy help as well as financial assistance for families to reduce barriers to adoption and fostering – one of more than a dozen states and counting that are funding more alternatives to the darkness of abortion. We must do this knowing what the better angels of our nature seek. Women do not desire the loss of their children; they want to know that there is a place to stay and be embraced by love.  

According to the pro-life group Human Coalition, 75% of the women they serve say they would prefer to parent their child if their circumstances were different. The pro-life community is large and deeply sacrificial; we have the ability to provide empowering resources. Next to enacting protective laws, the best gift we can give unborn children and their mothers this Christmas and beyond is to make sure they find open doors and generous hearts with us. Then we can gather, rejoicing in the land we are renewing, witnessing the hope of new nativities in Bethlehems reborn. 

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Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America. Chuck Donovan is president of Charlotte Lozier Institute. 

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