Due to the CDC’s and State Department of Health’s recommendations concerning COVID-19, we will be closing all seven of our pregnancy resource centers at the end of the day today, Tuesday, March 17th, until at least Wednesday, April 1st, 2020; however, that date is subject to change. While this is unfortunate, our staff members, volunteers, and clients safety and health is top priority.
We do not make this decision lightly. We want to follow government guidelines, and believe that the best way to show love to our community is to help reduce the spread of this deadly virus by limiting face to face contact. Our staff will be using phones, email, social media and creativity to provide peer counseling and community resources to our clients as we continue to save unborn babies and transform lives.
If you were planning to attend our Celebration of Life banquet, which we had to postpone until October 9th, and were going to make a donation that evening, please consider doing so at this time. Our banquet is our largest fundraiser to sustain the ministry through the lean summer months. By donating now, you will help alleviate some of the financial stress we will face in continuing to pay expenses such as rent, medical liability insurance, and utilities for all of our centers, while we continue to help our clients as much as we possibly can.
Please pray for our clients, as we are often times their only resource. We are working on concrete plans to still be able to accommodate our clients as much as possible. Our mission to save babies from abortion and to transform lives through a relationship with Christ is still a priority. We appreciate your support.
This is a continuation of the series of articles to take a wider view of abortion. The previous articles can be found here. This article will explore the history of abortion in the US through Roe V. Wade. In order to be accurate, in addition to facts, direct quotes are used that are rather disturbing. It is not our intent to offend but rather to be accurate. We hope that these articles help you understand the national history of abortion in a deeper way, and help you become a compassionate ambassador for life in your sphere of influence.
Prior to Roe V. Wade
When the U.S. first became a nation, most states adopted the English common law that restricted abortion after “fetal quickening” (when a baby’s movement can be felt). When Britain passed a law banning all abortions in 1803, many U.S. states began to develop their own legislation regarding abortion. In the mid-1800’s, the newly formed American Medical Association (the AMA) began a campaign to create legislation making abortion illegal in all cases except when a woman’s life was at risk. By 1880, every state in the United States had criminal abortion laws – with exceptions built in to allow the procedure in order to ‘save a woman’s life.’ Like any law, it was broken. In general, prosecution was limited to abortion providers that became public because of accidents that led to the death of the woman during the procedure.
At the time of the landmark case of Roe V. Wade, abortion was still a state’s issue. It varied from state-to-state being basically outlawed in 30 of the states and restricted to varying degrees in the rest. For example in Texas, the state where Roe V. Wade originated from, the law stated that abortion was only legal “to save the life of the mother.” While Georgia’s 1876 law permitted abortion in the case of rape, birth defects, or if the health of the mother was threatened. There were other forces at play in the national abortion scene.
circa 1915: Studio headshot portrait of Margaret Sanger (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Much has been written about Margaret Sanger, and there is not enough space here for a full examination. At the very least, her impact on America’s abortion situation is historical. In the late 1910’s, she began to write about sex, birth control, and eugenics profusely. Through her writings, speeches, and organizations, she eventually inserted herself as the central figure in birth control, “population control”, and founded Planned Parenthood. Her writings were and are still controversial, if not disturbing. Many today still view her the way she portrayed herself, a champion of women’s liberation. The keystone to this “liberation” was the limiting or absence of children.
However, Sanger’s motivations were not purely for “liberation.” She espoused ideas that are considered eugenic, racist, and very radical. In her 1932 speech “My Way to Peace,” Sanger laid out her plan to forcibly sterilize 15-20 million Americans (about 12-15% of the total population) to prevent what deemed to be undesirable pregnancies. In a private letter from 1939 regarding the “Negro Project”, she wrote:
“The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to get out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” The bolded portion was cited in the recent public debate in North Carolina.
In studying Margaret Sanger in her own words and actions, it does not take long to find someone with radical ideas of population control measures, directed by a ruling class, that have “solutions” rooted in the killing of millions. Since her death in 1966, many have taken up her causes and Planned Parenthood has grown into the largest abortion provider in the U.S.
Roe V. Wade
Two of those to take Sangers’ “cause” were attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee. In 1970, the two began looking for a way to challenge the 100+ year old Texas abortion law. When they were connected with Linda McCorvey, they found their test case and successfully got a three-judge panel to declare it as unconstitutional (without stating why). Eventually the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court where it was argued for over a year.
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down a 7-2 decision in favor of Roe (McCorvey), a new precedent was set, and the U.S. government was prevented from stopping abortion. The key decision was based on the ideas that the “right to privacy” includes a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy and that a fetus is not a person in the same sense intended by the Constitution. Many law scholars have found the decision and reasoning incredible, if not wholly unique.
In the next article, we will look at the effects of this decision in law and practice as well as current abortion trends in the U.S. Needless to say, the impact of legal, extensive abortion on demand and the rise of a lucrative abortion industry have been devastating and heartbreaking.
Compelling Interest: The Real Story behind Roe v. Wade by Roger Resler. EC Publishing Group, 2012.
This past fall, we began a series of articles to take a wider view of abortion. We talked about what abortion really is and the ethical implications of it. The first three articles can be found here: https://lifecenters.com/life-centers-blog/. In this article, we want to talk about abortion in Indiana. We hope that these articles help you understand what is happening in a deeper way, and help you become a compassionate ambassador for life in your sphere of influence.
Indiana often gets poor grades by groups that believe abortion restrictions are a violation of rights. Because of this, some people may believe that it is extremely limited by the law. The Indiana law actually allows for abortions anytime during pregnancy at certain medical facilities (ex. Eskenazi Hospital and Methodist Hospital) “based upon the professional, medical judgment of the pregnant woman’s physician.” While the statute does provide a framework that medical professionals must adhere to, the fact is that abortions after the fetal age of viability (defined as 20 weeks up to birth) do happen annually in Indiana at acute care hospitals.
The majority of abortions in Indiana occur not in hospitals, but in clinics. These free standing clinics have physician staff, but are not acute care hospitals, and are limited to first trimester (13 weeks) abortions. These abortions are legal for any reason as long as the woman is 18 years of age and gives consent, or if under 18 with parental consent.
The Trends and Numbers
The latest official numbers on abortion are from 2018 (they usually are published mid-year). In 2018, there were 8,037 abortions in Indiana, an increase over the previous 3 years. One thing to note is that this number probably does not capture all of the Indiana residents who had abortions. Illinois has some of the most progressive abortion laws and we hear that many women from Indiana seek out later abortions by simply crossing the state line. Of the 8,037 abortions, 98% of them were first trimester abortions in free standing clinics. Of these clinics, the location at 86th and Georgetown in Indianapolis is the most prolific, performing 35% to 50% of the abortions that occur in our state. Roughly half of all the first trimester abortions in Indiana are now via medication induced abortion.
How Life Centers Impacts
There is good news in the midst of all of these sad numbers. Life Centers is making an impact on lives – one, two, and whole families at a time. Last year, we saw 7,579 women and babies and were a part of 1,810 births. Volunteers at Life Centers contributed more than 17,000 hours to be part of many stories of changed lives and new life in our clients. Life Centers has put a renewed focus on developing relationships with our clients through support services (diapers, clothing, toys, wipes, baby furniture, etc.), client classes, abortion recovery, and a lot of other expressions of love and compassion. Because of that, many women are choosing to visit and refer others to us rather than the abortion clinics. This shift in traffic has caused many of these local abortion clinics to close over the last five years. Wouldn’t it be great if all of the abortion clinics in Indiana had to close simply because women chose not to get abortions?
Life Centers is not involved in political movements or the legal process. Our focus is ministry and care for those who are facing pregnancy-related decisions with hope that they choose life. If you want to get involved in helping to show love and compassion that saves lives, visit our volunteer page. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
This story was written by an actual client of Life Centers.
“This ministry is so important to those that are in crisis, and who are not sure of where to turn. The counseling, resources, and partnership that these centers provide young women is so important as they navigate what will be the most difficult, and the most wonderful thing in this life: carrying, delivering, and raising their beautiful child.
These centers help mothers choose life, not only for their babies, but for themselves.
I will be forever grateful to the counselor who talked to me the day I walked in sobbing, terrified, and lost, who reminded me of all the support I had in my church and family, who reminded me of the goodness and greatness of Jesus, and who called me several times in the months that followed to pray and talk with me, and offer me more resources as I started to put together a nursery, and a life for Violet.
Choosing life doesn’t happen on a ballot at your voting site. Choosing life doesn’t happen by sharing posts on Facebook. It happens in your response to the young girl you know in your family, or friend group who comes to you and tells you that she is pregnant. It comes in how you use your money and time. It comes through living out what Christ has commanded of us, to be loving, and be sold out for His glory.
Please. Choose life. Choose mercy. Support Crisis Pregnancy and Life Centers near you, so that no matter what stage or struggle of life, young women who are pregnant, who had an abortion and are struggling because of it, women of all ages who are in abusive situations, women who can’t afford healthcare, and women in all the other situations that arise in our sin-cursed world can find counseling, resources, and a partnership as they choose life.
Support these centers with your time, your money, and your prayers. Jesus loves the little children, their mommies, and their daddies. He wants them all to know Him, and serve Him for their good, and His glory. That is life… He is Life.
This is a continuation of a series of articles. All previous articles can be found on our website in the blog section.
Again, our intent is not to condemn or wound those who have been part of an abortion (please see our post-abortive recovery program, SOAR). We want to spur thought and conversation that empowers you to interact with those around you in a thoughtful way.
Rights vs. What is Right Whenever someone mentions the word “ethics,” there is usually not an enthusiastic response, perhaps there is even a yawn, but understanding ethics is vital to all of us. Ethics are the moral principles that govern our behavior. The reason we are talking about ethics before laws and trends regarding abortion, is that the clarification of ethics helps us rightly understand these laws and trends. Laws flow from our ethics, but often it can get reversed in the rhetoric surrounding abortion. When those who are pro-choice talk about their rights, they may imply both a legal standing and moral one, but can their moral standing hold up? Let’s look at some common arguments for abortion and see if there are weaknesses.
Law vs. Ethics First, we must acknowledge that current law in the United States gives someone the legal right to proceed with an abortion. What we need to understand is that a legal justification (a legal right) does not equal a moral rightness. Certainly, everyone in the US can think of past laws that were immoral. Laws that discriminated against minorities and women, stripping away their humanity were immoral even when they were legal. It should also be pointed out that the law itself is inconsistent. If a pregnant woman is killed, the suspect can be charged with a double homicide. So, we know that legality is not the ultimate test for morality.
Personhood Personhood is an idea used only when we want to deny someone their humanity. The pro-choice argument of when someone is or is not a person is used to differentiate a child in the womb from one outside the womb. We covered these differences in the previous article, but there should also be something said about the general idea of personhood. Whenever personhood has been tied to anything more restrictive than a human being, it has always had a sinister purpose. To call someone less than a person is to deny them rights that should be afforded everyone. Sadly, it is not a new tactic even if the language has changed. In the US, it was used against Native Americans and African-Americans for many atrocities. History is full of many more examples. We must understand that the only purpose for denying someone personhood is to assert control over them that is not for their benefit.
My Body, My Choice The argument that, “No one should have a right to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body” is a common refrain for pro-choice advocates. One big problem is that it is not an absolute. In the law for example, there are statutes regarding prostitution, drug use, and the selling of one’s own organs. Those are all legal statutes that do not show an absolute autonomy for one’s body. In fact, it is hard to think of many crimes in which someone does not use their body in some way. So, claiming autonomy because it involves your body does not hold up (try not having your body show up for jury duty and using body autonomy as a legal argument). Granted, while people do have the moral standing to choose medical care for themselves, we would not allow them to choose harm or kill someone else. A conjoined twin sharing vital organs cannot choose to end both of their lives. The root of the ‘my body, my choice’ is again to deny or diminish the humanity of the baby in utero and thus give the mother the ability to end its life.
Unwanted There is an argument that it is “inhumane to give birth to an unwanted child.” There are two major problems with this reasoning: the premise isn’t true and the argument isn’t valid. First, any child born in the US today is wanted by someone. It is estimated that there are about 2 million couples in the US waiting to adopt. Even children with special needs have multiple families willing to adopt. Much of the “unwanted” rhetoric comes from the number of older children in the foster care system, which is a separate moral issue. Any baby born in the US is certainly not without a home that desires them. Secondly, the whole issue of “wanted” or “unwanted” should have no standing in the right to life of a human being. Just because one does not want someone, does not give them a right to end their life, and it is never more humane to kill someone because they might possibly suffer in the future.
The next article will move on from ethics to what is happening in our society today. There are new movements, technologies, and laws that most people who are pro-life don’t even know about.
What did we miss? If you think we missed something or made a misstep, please send us an email.