The recent midterm elections served as a warning that the pro-life movement has a long way to go.
The focus of the 2022 election appears to have been primarily to elect pro-life or pro-abortion politicians. But the election results in various state abortion initiatives are a more serious indicator of our nation’s position on “life.”
On Election Day, voters in five states decided the fate of abortion-related ballot measures. The pro-life position suffered defeats in all five. If we add up the loss of Kansas’ pro-life amendment initiative last summer, it’s 0 for 6. We’re hitting .000.
The ballot initiative in Montana was more revealing. It was a “live birth” that would have required medical attention to be provided to babies born alive after induced labor, caesarean section, and abortion. He was defeated with an abortionists margin of victory of 6%. The average margin of victory for the pro-abortion position in the other four states was 28% (Vermont 54%, California 40%, Michigan 14%, and Kentucky 4%).
That’s a disturbing and discouraging trend, to say the least. Those statistics could show a lot, and political analysts and pundits provide a variety of reasons for that voting trend. The wording and other aspects that may have been contained in a given ballot measure could have influenced some votes. However, I believe the results basically reflect a distorted view of the abortion issue on the part of many voters.
Possible reasons for the results
There are committed pro-abortionists just as there are committed pro-lifers who may explain some voting patterns. However, I also believe that there is also a large segment of the voting public that is in the middle that voted for the pro-abortion position. They can be in favor of life, but with exceptions in case of rape, incest, etc. Others may be against late-term abortions, but may feel acceptable anytime before the third trimester.
Then there are those who simply don’t pay attention to the issue of abortion. Many accepted the false narrative pushed by Democrats that the abortion issue is about denying women’s health rights, protecting democracy and individual liberty. There was no question that the mainstream media supported that narrative and it resonated with many of these people.
This shows that many do not know the details of what abortion really is. This is especially the case for young voters. I found that to be the case in discussions with many college students I have encountered in my 40 Days for Life experiences. It seems they don’t have a deep understanding beyond the catchphrases, audio snippets, Internet headlines, and tweets they hear and read.
Ultimately, I think our cultural obsession with “me” played a role. The pro-abortion message of “my body, my choice and my rules” and the like feed that sense of selfishness. The desire for a life free of obligations sets the stage for accepting such messages.
Free to kill?
This same passion is taken to the point that many celebrate abortion. The media loves to offer quotes from celebrities like Jameel Jamil. The “She Hulk” star declared that the abortion was “the best decision I ever made.”
If I were to describe a snapshot of what I think the midterm elections indicate, it is that “freedom of choice” in all aspects of our lives is a priority for many Americans. That mindset seems to influence just about everything in people’s lives. They want to be sure, as consumers, that they have unlimited options. They also want the freedom to buy any mind-altering drug they want. And finally, they want freedom of choice to kill a baby they don’t want.
If anything, it reinforces the notion that politicians, legislative actions, and court decisions, while important, will not save unborn children. Only education and conversion will do it.
Enter Advent and Christmas
The upcoming holiday season couldn’t have come at a better time in the context of these election-aborting results. It is a season of hope to counteract the electoral “depression”. You can also offer some direction for the pro-life message.
Even for non-Christians and atheists, the season features what might be called pro-life imagery. It is a time to remember our own birth and that of our children. It is a time to stop and reflect on our families. And it is a time to remember Christmases past, especially when we were children.
“The intention of Advent is to awaken in us the deepest and most basic emotional memory, that is, the memory of God who became a child. This is a healing memory; brings hope.” –Pope Benedict XVI
It can be an opportunity for the conversion of hearts and minds in many dimensions. It is a time when many in our nation indulge in a charitable spirit and think of others with gifts. And people of all faiths or no faith at all participate in it.
This seasonal mindset can be channeled into pro-life purposes.
Another reason for the season
Advent is a time in which we highlight Mary (as a pregnant mother) and her unborn child (Jesus). Therefore, Christmas can be seen as a pro-life event. From that perspective, the popular message “Keep Christ in Christmas” can also serve as a charity message to help mothers and unborn babies in need.
Pro-life efforts over the years have focused on a number of different efforts. The most practiced are prayer, witness and service/advocacy.
Of course, we must continue to pray to end abortion. But our prayer focus during the Christmas season must expand. We could also pray for vulnerable mothers and their unborn babies and for those who have suffered an abortion.
Peaceful vigil witnessing like 40 Days for Life has wrapped up its fall campaign, but such efforts can and do continue through the holiday season. Those vigil efforts outside abortion centers are often tied to outreach programs like crisis pregnancy centers.
Crisis pregnancy centers have grown exponentially in recent years. They provide a variety of services. Services include free ultrasounds, free quality pregnancy tests, confidential counseling services, abortion recovery services, baby clothes and furniture. Many go further and provide food, temporary housing and job assistance. Texas alone has more than 218 such programs.
The Church has taken the lead in providing such services through religious orders such as the Sisters of Life, Catholic hospitals, and Church-affiliated pregnancy centers. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) supports the efforts of local parishes through the “Mothers in Need Program”. They also sponsor “Project Rachel” to help women who have had abortions.
Send messages, give and serve
Requests for charitable donations abound during the holiday season. And without a doubt, there are many worthwhile efforts. However, we can also make a note to offer specific help for women facing an abortion decision.
Christmas season themes can help in this effort. The birth of a child, charity, the provision of services to those in need, and “peace on earth and the good will of men” can all be places to announce the pro-life message.
Pro-life is not just about advocating for an end to abortion. It is also about helping the mother, the fetus and the newborn. And it is about helping women who have suffered an abortion. They all need help, especially in this season of giving.
It’s a small nuance, but I’ve even seen some changes to the signs we carry at Planned Parenthood vigils. While many used to say “Pray to end abortion”, now more and more signs say “We can help you”.
The birth of Christ that we celebrate during this season is all about “giving life”. What better way to send the message and act on that giving of life than by supporting the aforementioned crisis pregnancy centers and services.
The Advent and Christmas seasons are an opportunity for the transformation of the self-absorption mentioned above. Take time this year to recognize and appreciate the gift of life, and offer life-giving support through your time, talent, and treasure.
By the way
This essay began by painting a picture of a nation that is woefully out of touch on the issue of abortion. The Advent and Christmas season can serve as an opportunity to deal positively with the real-life outcomes affecting pro-abortion-minded women and babies.
Beyond the priority of helping abortion victims, such efforts can also help raise awareness about the real issues of abortion life. This can help educate the culture about the pro-life message of life. There are many alternatives to abortion provided by the Catholic Church and pro-life advocates and supporters.
Who knows, changes in consciousness may translate into pro-life voting patterns in the future. It is another request to add to our prayers.