If you’re anything like me and my coworkers at Right to Life of Central California, you’re still processing what was a very disheartening election. For countless millions of unborn babies, this election was very important. From the nomination of new Supreme Court justices to government funding for Planned Parenthood, our situation was already grave, and it is now worse.
Against all odds, America reelected the most pro-abortion president in history – one who aggressively attacks religious freedom under the banner of “choice.” Undoubtedly, the pro-life movement has been dealt a serious blow. But pro-lifers should ask themselves: has our central goal changed?
Delays are almost inevitable, and they occur in all great causes. William Wilberforce, the heroic member of parliament who worked tirelessly to abolish the British slave trade, faced many obstacles. Year after year he would sponsor bills for abolition. Year after year he failed. But justice eventually triumphed. Not primarily through politics, or due to Britain’s great moral integrity. Rather, abolition succeeded because slavery became unthinkable to the people of England.
Our hope does not rest primarily upon politics. Politics is downstream from culture. If you and I hope to abolish abortion, we must make abortion unthinkable to the average American.
Votes matter. The political process is important. And the prospect of four more years under President Obama looks dire. But for abortion to be abolished with the same finality of the slave trade, you and I must make it unthinkable to the culture at large.
This is where you and I must take part. Have we asked our friends, neighbors, and family what they think about abortion? Do we listen to understand and offer reasonable and gracious responses? Will we gently encourage our pro-life clergy and friends to take action?
All of us – each and every one of us – can make a difference. Consider what happened to my fellow RLCC staff member Gabi Vehrs on Election Day:
A sales guy came up to our door right as I was about to leave to vote. He asked if he could know who I voted for, then asked why. I got to share the 10 second pro-life tool that we teach advocates at our Justice For All trainings: that we know the unborn is alive because it’s growing, we know the unborn is human because she has human parents, and human beings like you and me are valuable. I then explained President Obama’s record on abortion, and described what the Born Alive Infants Protection Act prohibited. (The bill that President Obama repeatedly voted against.)
The young man was stunned. “I had no idea…” The conversation was short, about three minutes. Please pray that he will begin to take this issue seriously.
What an impact one person can have in three minutes! The pro-life movement should diligently work to train people to do what Gabi did: start productive dialogue about abortion that is neither awkward nor uncomfortable, but rather effective.
Despite the results from Tuesday’s election, our mission as pro-life advocates doesn’t change. To borrow the mission statement of my organization, pro-lifers everyone must redouble our efforts to:
- Engage our community by presenting the pro-life position with clarity and compassion,
- Equip advocates to defend the sanctity of all human life through effective tools and training, and
- Embrace individuals facing an unplanned pregnancy and those hurt by abortion.
John Mark N. Reynolds, Provost at Houston Baptist University, said this about the results from 2012: “Losing an election means conservative ideas are unpopular, not wrong. If they are correct, then we must persuade and argue not give in.”
Jay Watts from Life Training Institute had a similar message: “Last night we learned that ideas that many of us believe are bad for America have taken root. Keep fighting those ideas and win people.”
Pro-lifers everywhere should wholeheartedly agree.
Whether it’s a group like Live Action, 40 Days for Life, or Right to Life of Central California, the pro-life movement is winning hearts, changing minds, and saving lives every single day. True, the re-election of President Obama means that some pro-life legal victories will be delayed. But it’s not a permanent loss. Now, pro-lifers across the country must focus on communicating our message more effectively and graciously. And we must get active like never before.
Will you stand with us and take a more active role than ever before as we Engage, Equip, and Embrace? Will you join our efforts to save lives and change public opinion across the nation and around the world?
We have a long road ahead. The journey begins today.
Thanks to Gabi Vehrs and Jonathan Keller for their contributions to this piece.