By Jonathan Rogers, NRLC Field Coordinator
There’s no getting around the fact that the 40th anniversary of “Roe v. Wade” is going to be sobering. The numbers stagger the soul. If it gives you pause and makes you discouraged for a moment, I don’t blame you.
But we don’t have the luxury of thinking long about what might have been. Pro-lifers are always about what we can do next. Indeed, the nobility of our cause and the persistence of grassroots pro-lifers explain why we are already in the process of renewing our strength.
Let me offer two complement thoughts. Any Good offered, any Truth avowed, any Innocence defended is worth honoring in and of itself. Striving on behalf of a noble cause should be commemorated and appreciated.
No setback is permanent, unless you give up. However giving up is not in the pro-lifers DNA. How could it be when what we do is not for ourselves but for those unborn children whose defenders we are?
Whenever there is a wrong turn, such as the re-election of a staunchly pro-abortion president, the temptation is to focus on the immediate and forget what we’ve accomplished. That is a mistake; we must also recognize and celebrate the victory won and progress made.
Put another way, we must see the landscape using a wide-range lens, Consider…
Even the most cautious estimates must pay tribute to the fact that more than a million Americans are alive today who would not be had it not been for the valiant efforts of the Right to Life Movement. This is hugely important on its face, but even more so for a Movement whose core value is that every life matters!
Countless individuals have been educated about the tragedy of abortion, and have been brought into our Movement as allies and friends in the cause of protecting the unborn and their mothers. Countless lives have been saved thanks to the heroic efforts of crisis pregnancy centers, sidewalk counselors, and citizen activists who have enabled the enactment of protective pro-life laws and have demonstrated that we can affirm and save life, and not callously destroy and disregard it.
A careful study of the wider picture on abortion in America shows real and profound change and tangible hope for the future. The number of abortions is down from their historic highs, public attitudes have shifted, a breathtaking number and array of pro-life laws have been passed, and a younger generation is emerging that is more pro-life than the one before it. While we would never look at our efforts and say, “It has been enough,” we must look at them and say, “It has made a real, tangible difference.”
You can be sure that the talking heads and pundits are going to pontificate this January on the “meaning” of “Roe,” and its 40 year history. We’re long past accepting that most of those talking heads won’t be the most commendatory of our efforts, or acknowledging of our results. So use this January as your own moment to call those around you to the truth.
Thousands of chapters, affiliates, groups, and countless individuals will be out commemorating “Roe” and bearing hope for the future. Join them; let us know what you’ll be doing. And plan your pro-life commitments for the coming year. Make them the fittest reminder and tribute to 40 years of loss but also of hope.
The Right to Life Movement faces a busy, challenging year. A pro-abortion White House and Senate will have to be checked, while a record number of pro-life state governments will have to be supported and encouraged to defend and protect innocent life. Your efforts will be key to educating those around you, mobilizing and channeling their support, and bearing witness to Life.
National Right to Life will be working with you every step of the way, with a range of resources and tools, both new and old, available to help and assist your efforts. From our new bulletin inserts remembering 40 years of “Roe,” to a forthcoming new chapter handbook and social media guide for chapters, to tried and true fact sheets, educational handouts, and the upcoming June Convention in Dallas, we want to commemorate Roe’s 40th anniversary with a Right to Life Movement stronger than ever.
So take heart and remember:
Sorrow and pain can strengthen hope and resolve.
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