Pro-Life movement is a pro-active movement

By Dale Bartscher, Executive Director , South Dakota Right to Life

Editor’s note. This appeared in the Rapid City Journal.

Misleading headlines and stories would lead a reader to believe that if Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand throughout all 9 months of pregnancy, is overturned that abortion would immediately be outlawed across the country.

This is not true.

If Roe is overturned, then state legislators will have the ability to protect women and their unborn babies by passing legislation that reflects the will of the population of their state.

South Dakota is one of thirteen states with a ‘trigger law’ of some sort, and that number is growing, where most induced abortions would be banned if the landmark federal law was overturned.

South Dakota’s ‘trigger law’, passed in 2005, is SDCL 22-17-5.1: “Any person who administers to any pregnant female or who prescribes or procures for any pregnant female any medicine, drug, or substance or uses or employs any instrument or other means with intent thereby to procure an abortion, unless there is appropriate and reasonable medical judgment that performance of an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant female, is guilty of a Class 6 felony.”

State legislators may consider current scientific and medical knowledge that tells us that a baby’s heart begins to beat by 6 weeks or that at just 8 weeks of pregnancy, a baby’s heart is beating at an astonishing 150 to 170 beats per minute—about twice as fast as an adult’s heart. Or they may consider that after 12 weeks, which is the end of the first trimester and when an unborn baby’s body is fully formed, she has eyelids, lips, a nose, fingers, and toes.

The point is that state legislators will have the opportunity to effect change that helps women and their unborn babies.

Contrary to information that the abortion industry may present, women do not seek abortions because they want one—they seek abortions because they feel they have no choice, because they have no support, or the baby’s father insists on an abortion. Young women may also worry about finishing school, or they may have limited resources.

The pro-life movement cares about women and their unborn children. Over the years, the movement has grown to include nearly 3,000 pregnancy help centers across the United States designed to help women where and when they need it. These centers provide services for free and are supported by churches, local businesses, and individual donors. Many centers provide free ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, prenatal vitamins, baby clothing, formula, parenting classes, and additional practical and material help, and are largely staffed by trained volunteers. Many pregnancy centers, if they have the supply, have a policy of providing a couple of days’ worth of diapers and wipes to anyone walking in off the street.

Centers that provide medical services, such as ultrasounds or STD testing, are under the oversight of a local medical doctor. Pregnancy centers also maintain connections to other organizations in the community and can put a young woman in touch with other resources such as housing or transportation and connect her to doctors who can take her insurance or Medicaid. The earlier a woman receives prenatal care, the better the outcome is for both her and her baby. Pregnancy centers help facilitate and encourage earlier care and because the services are free, the ability to pay is never an issue.

This is what the pro-life movement and the tens of thousands of volunteers do every day for women and children in need—without fanfare or large advertising budgets and free of charge.

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