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Our Magnificent Obsession

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2011 Nov 18

Posted by Jim_Daly Nov 17, 2011




Fred Barnes is the executive editor of the Weekly Standard and an astute political writer and commentator. I want to call your attention to his most recent column. It was titled “Hidden Persuaders: The unheralded gains of the pro-life movement.”

Fred writes:

That the pro-life movement is bigger is a given. It’s also younger, increasingly entrepreneurial, more strategic in its thinking, better organized, tougher in dealing with allies and enemies alike, almost wildly ambitious, and more relentless than ever.

Pro-lifers have captured the high moral ground, chiefly thanks to advances in the quality of sonograms. Once fuzzy, sonograms now provide a high-resolution picture of the unborn child in the womb. Fetuses have become babies.

In 2011 alone, 24 states have enacted 52 new restrictions on abortion. Five now require an ultrasound before an abortion, two insisting that the screen be viewable by the mother. Four bar abortions after the baby is able to feel pain (at approximately 20 weeks). Eight have opted out of Obamacare. Five ban abortions by webcam (in which a doctor, not in person but videoconferencing with the mother, prescribes pills to induce abortion). Six trimmed or eliminated funds for Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Texas led with a $64 million cut.

Of course, this is all wonderful news and it affirms the optimism and encouragement within Focus, particularly in regard to our Option Ultrasound ministry. Technology and public opinion is on our side - and growing.

Yet, writing about “positive” strides in the decades-long pursuit to overturn the catastrophic Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision is something of a difficult assignment. That’s because any “good news” is still tainted by the sad and gruesome reality of legalized abortion.

Think about it in these terms:

If ten children were abducted in your town every week and police instituted a program that reduced that number to eight - you would be encouraged - but still desperate to reduce the number to zero.

That’s where we find ourselves in the pro-life movement these days. We are encouraged by the trajectory of this historic effort to affirm the dignity of every living person, born or preborn. And to do so we're willing and eager to do everything we can to save babies.  Still, our ultimate goal remains the overturning of Roe

Simply put, our "magnificent obsession" is to not stop until the world sees and affirms the value and worth of every human life.

Many of you have been “in the arena” for decades and the significance of your contribution to the pro-life movement cannot be overstated. It has been a long climb and one that continues. At times you might grow frustrated with the pace of progress - but as Fred has pointed out, there's been significant improvement, although it's often behind-the-scenes.

Know this: the Lord is blessing your efforts. Take heart. Those who support abortion are growing weary. Fred reports:

The language gymnastics and euphemisms reflect the forlorn condition of the pro-choice flock. They’re worn out. Many are in despair. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told Newsweek of her anguish as she watched last year’s March on Washington. “I just thought, my gosh, they are so young,” she said. “There are so many of them, and they are so young.”

One last thing. For years we’ve been supporting and promoting legislation aimed to save babies. The natural question, then, is this: how effective has that strategy been?


Michael New is a political science professor at the University of Michigan and his findings on the topic were published this past March in State Politics and Policy Quarterly. He concluded that when legislation curtails the public funding of abortion and requires parental involvement and parental consent - the abortion rate is reduced.

This is not only good news for those of us who cherish life - it's the best of news for those whose lives will be saved because of the tireless efforts of pro-life supporters.

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