It’s hard to imagine that we’ve been laboring 40 long, tortuous years to end the killing of innocent babies in the womb. The 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the companion cases that legalized abortion-on-demand, is a solemn and tragic reminder that our job isn’t done. It’s also an opportunity to examine the past and future of the pro-life movement.
Dr. Willke and I have been immersed in pro-life activism for decades—Jack, well before Roe became law of the land, and me as a senior in high school in 1975. The pro-life educational legacy by Jack and Barbara Willke has done more to advance the cause for life than any other on earth. Life Issues Institute was conceived by the idea that pro-life education is the foundation on which political and legislative victories are built. And it was intended to continue the legacy begun by Dr. and Mrs. Willke.
What started out as “The Willke” slide sets, brochures and books, has kept pace with an ever-evolving technology to what Life Issues Institute looks like today:
- Websites reaching into every corner of the world with volumes of pro-life information only a click away
- A daily radio commentary airing on 1,100 radio outlets and through podcasts
- A weekly half-hour TV program dedicated to the life issues that has earned two Regional Emmy® Awards and is available to 95% of American households
- Educating the Black Community that the abortion industry is targeting them
Of course cutting-edge developments aren’t limited to Life Issues Institute. An awe-inspiring array of creative, even edgy, pro-life efforts are working in concert with the movement to move us closer to our goal of ending abortion.
Most pro-life advocates have heard the name Lila Rose. She has secured a place in the history of the pro-life movement by her undercover work within Planned Parenthood abortion facilities throughout the nation. Her organization, Live Action, has exposed and documented corruption and federal violations of Planned Parenthood facilities and staff. Her efforts caught them red-handed as they secretly aided and abetted sexual predators, human traffickers and pimps. This has forced the nation’s largest chain of abortion mills on the defensive, trying to salvage a tarnished image.
Live Action has inspired countless youth to engage in new and creative pro-life activities, and many of them have joined the ranks of Students for Life of America. This grassroots network of college students is led by Kristan Hawkins and is credited with helping to alter the trend of pro-abortion activism on university campuses throughout the nation. Their organization is mainstreaming the pro-life message within a segment of society that represents a significant number of abortion statistics. They’re also giving a voice to pregnant students, as well as working to establish a support system so they can continue both their pregnancies and studies.
For years, even the most seasoned pro-life advocates assumed there were only a couple of babies who had survived abortion and grown into adult ambassadors for life. But recently Melissa Ohden changed all that. She miraculously survived a salt-poison abortion with little if any physical impact. Not only has she become an articulate spokesperson for the pro-life movement, she’s reaching out to others like her and is building a nationwide network of abortion survivors. The goal of the Abortion Survivor Network is to put a face on the statistics of those who survive abortions and create awareness that many more survivors exist than anyone ever expected. It also provides support to those who emotionally grapple with the abortion and feel alone in their survival.
Pro-abortion activists are struggling to effectively counter the dramatic message shared by abortion survivors. Simply denying their stories is proving futile. Our TV program, Facing Life Head-On, recently dedicated an episode to these survivors. You’ll never forget their stunning personal stories.
While pro-life advocates have been successful over the years protecting babies and their parents from abortion by closing down abortion mills, Abby Johnson has recently taken a novel approach to accomplish the same goal. Abby’s philosophy is that once there are no abortion facility workers, there won’t be any abortions.
Abby was the director of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Bryan, Texas. Her experience while assisting with an ultrasound-guided abortion at 13-weeks changed her life forever. As a former staff member of an abortion facility, Abby knows first-hand the struggles of leaving the abortion industry and decided to start an organization dedicated to bringing abortionists and their staff out of the darkness and into the light. Her organization, And Then There Were None, provides practical assistance to those who want to leave the killing fields of abortion. This includes money for rent, groceries and utilities. They also provide spiritual and legal assistance and help them secure employment elsewhere. So far, Abby’s efforts are generating very encouraging results.
It’s true; the herculean task of awakening the conscience of our nation to the plight of unborn children and their parents has taken longer than any of us first expected. But writing the epitaph of the pro-life movement has proven premature at best. Our numbers, structure and influence have grown enormously these last 4 decades. And contrary to the pro-abortion movement, which is aging and dying out, we are growing in size and cultivating the next generation to value life and work to protect it. If I were a betting man, I’d bet on LIFE.