17 Apr Big Wins for the Unborn
April 17, 2013
From the Desk of Carol Soelberg
United Families International is proud to co-sponsor World Congress of Families VII in Sydney, Australia May 15-18. This global gathering of individuals and organizations is a powerful force for good in the pro-family movement. Educating, networking, and inspiring exhibits by experts and layman a like offer an incredible opportunity to feel the strength of the pro-family movement as well as receiving ammunition for articulating the newest information in defense of family issues.
As a co-sponsor we will be hosting a UFI booth, speaking, and moderating a discussion at the Congress. We would love for you to join us in Australia in May. Go here to get more information.
They came. They Stood.
The mom with her stroller, the elderly couple holding hands as they jointly held up their sign, students from the local high school, a middle-aged man in his cowboy hat and insulated coveralls, the elementary-school kids with some balloons. They stood among the large throng that lined the snow-covered main drag known as Broadway. It was late afternoon in mid-March and it was cold, very cold. Spring comes very slowly to Minot, North Dakota.
I had just gotten off an airplane and my husband and his warm pick-up truck were whisking me back to his warm office when I saw them all standing there. Some waved their signs, a few were generating a fair amount of noise as they asked people to “honk if you’re pro-life,” some had their heads bowed and appeared to be quietly praying, all were smiling.
As a visitor to their city, I wasn’t, at that moment, tuned in to the momentous things that were about to occur in a state that has built an amazing pro-family and pro-life culture in the northern reclines of the wind-swept prairie.
As we sat at the stop light in our warm vehicle watching them, it suddenly dawned on me that I was witnessing a spontaneous, home-grown demonstration for life by people for whom I’m sure the numbing cold was the least of their discomforts. I’m guessing few of them had ever participated in a “demonstration” of any kind. These were folks that were way out of their comfort-zone; yet they came and they stood.
Minot is a two-hour drive from Bismarck, the capital city of North Dakota. The governor (whom I found out later they were waiting on to sign a series of pro-life bills) was not going to see them standing there. There certainly were no media or television cameras to record the moment. Yet all these people and their children stood in the cold to show the members of their community that unborn children matter; that the unborn are people too and they deserve a chance at life.
I was surprised at how touched I was watching them; pretty humbled, actually, and extremely grateful for their efforts. I might show up at the UN and do my best for the unborn, but these people had the motivation to gather their friends and families together and stand on a street in sub-zero weather, in the hope that they could touch their neighbors – and maybe their governor’s – hearts. It was a powerful message.
To the amazement and delight of the national pro-life community, that next morning, North Dakota governor Jack Dalrymple signed into law three outstanding pro-life bills:
- HB1456 requires a physician to determine whether there’s a detectable heartbeat prior to performing an abortion. A physician who willingly performs an abortion after the detection of a heartbeat could be subject to a Class C felony.
- HB1305 will make it a Class A misdemeanor for a physician to willingly perform an abortion based specifically on gender or on genetic abnormalities [such as Down Syndrome].
- SB2305 requires physicians performing abortions to be licensed in the state and to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
The good people of North Dakota, a state with one of the smallest populations in the U.S., have done some pretty impressive things! A week earlier, the North Dakota legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 4009 which will be voted on by North Dakotans in the 2014 general election. This resolution (an amendment to the state constitution) would define human life as beginning at conception.
The governor has certainly done his part as well. Not only did he sign the bills, but when he and the citizens of his state were threatened by the pro-abortion lobby with lawsuits to challenge the new bills, he immediately ordered money be set aside to defend the legislation. It appears, fortunately, that there is a high probability that non-profit, pro-life legal groups will step in to help them.
They’re still standing for life! Just yesterday (April 16), North Dakota joined 10 other states who have passed a “Fetal Pain” law (outlawing abortion after 20 weeks – the point at which it is widely believed that unborn babies can feel pain).
North Dakota is pretty much a “rock star” (as my grandkids would say) in the pro-life department. But other states have done outstanding jobs this last legislative season as well.
Here’s a partial list:
- Connecticut, Minnesota, Virginia, and West Virginia have either put in place or are close to putting in place laws to increase monitoring of abortion doctors and abortion facilities. (Prior to this year, 28 states have had some type of similar law.)
- The state of Texas is well on its way to defunding Planned Parenthood.
- Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is expected to sign bills that declare that life begins at fertilization and ban abortions performed solely because of a baby’s sex.
They came; they stood; they succeeded;
and you can too!
Here are some things to consider:
- Work to elect pro-life, pro-family individuals to public office.
- Elections matter. Vote and know who you are voting for and what their positions are.
- Promote and support adoption.
- “It’s an unborn child, not a choice.” Teach it. Don’t fall for pro-abortion rhetoric and make sure your children see through it too.
- Support crisis pregnancy centers.
- Actively engage in the pro-life effort. Know what is going on legislatively in your state.
- Donate some time and some money. If you don’t feel like you can do either, become conversant with the talking points, research, and all the negative consequences of abortion and share what you know.
And when the moment is right, you might even grab a pro-life sign and, like the good people of North Dakota, stand up for the unborn alongside members of your community. We’ll forgive you if you choose to wait until the weather’s nice!
Ann Bailey is a longtime advocate for the family with a focus on UN and international policies.