WWW Opinion Times

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Sonogram Use in CPCs Is Changing the Abortion Debate

A few years ago I heard a quote which literally changed my outlook on personal relationships. You may know of it. It is by St. Francis and goes like this: "Preach the Gospel at all times. . . . Use words when necessary."

This is an important maxim for each individual believer, but it is also an important rule in a much broader sense for the pro-life movement: don't just say how bad abortion is, but, rather, through your actions show how we can do better for women. That's how hearts and minds are changed. It's the topic of Dr. J.C. Willke's book, Why Can't We Love Them Both?. Having adopted this approach, the pro-life movement has radically changed the approach to reaching the hearts of Americans. And the Crisis Pregnancy Center movement is at the forefront of that approach.

So much fruitful work has been done by CPCs that even the New York Times has taken notice. In a recent article, they wrote positively about how these centers are affecting womens' choices:
The New York Times: In the battle over abortion, opponents say they have discovered a powerful new tool: sonograms. And over the last 18 months, they have started major fund-raising campaigns to outfit Christian crisis pregnancy centers with ultrasound equipment.

The groups, including the Southern Baptist Convention and the evangelical organization Focus on the Family, have spent $20,000 to $30,000 apiece on ultrasound machines, and some of the clinics are vying for more expensive state-of-the art machines that show the fetus in three dimensions. Focus on the Family has budgeted $4.2 million in the current fiscal year for the machines and on training on how to use them.

. . . The fund-raising is a sign of how the opponents of abortion are dividing their efforts - seeking to chip away at abortion through legislation but also waging a battle for women's hearts. And it comes at a time when leaders of both major political parties are talking about making abortion rare.
On the legislative side, the Partial Birth Abortion debate has destroyed the foundation of the "pro-choice" argument. It is becoming increasingly clear that a woman's body is not the only factor in pregnancy, there is a human life at stake inside her (not to mention that research increasing shows that women who undergo the procedure have lasting emotional and physical problems). So much so that when Planned Parenthood and NARAL activitists comment on pro-life efforts to minister to the needs of women, they become shrill in their criticism. Here's an example from the article:
Supporters of abortion rights say that a large number of the centers lure women by leaving the impression that they do, in fact, perform abortions and subsequently do not give young women a full picture of their choices. "Generally, their treatment of women who come in is coercive," said Susanne Martinez, vice president of public policy at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "From the time they walk in to these centers, they are inundated with information that is propaganda and that has one goal in mind. And that is to have women continue with their pregnancies."
Partial Birth Abortion is a procedure clearly designed to kill a truly living person when that baby can clearly survive outside the mother. The last sentence of this quote shows that abortion activists truly want any "unwanted" life destroyed under any "chosen" circumstance, and they want to convince those who might let the baby live to kill it as well. And it is because Planned Parenthood (in particular) makes tens of millions of dollars every year promoting the killing of pre-born human beings.

Crisis Pregnancy Centers, by ministering to the true needs of women--fear of carrying a baby they didn't plan; fear of future financial problems; misunderstanding of how to give an "unwanted" baby away for adoption; teenage confusion when a young woman finds herself in crisis--are meeting the true needs of women. And they are changing the heart of the American people.

There is still much more work to be done. And CPCs need to expand services and provide more and better medical help to women. But the ministry approach to womens' pregnancy problems has been a tremendous help in reducing abortions and saving women from life altering decisions.

For more information:

Journal of Social Issues: Psychological Perspective on Abortion and Its Alternatives: Research and Policy.

Baptists for Life has a bibliography of research on the effects of abortion on women.

Effects of Abortion

Effects of Abortion on Men